Exploring Veranaaso

Everyday at 5 am is rise for the Sisters of Melanesia, meaning getting up and ready for morning prayer. At 5:15 everyone is in the chapel, doing their own readings and prayers. At 5:55, morning prayer starts and at 6:30 everyone has their breakfast. At that time, the sun starts lighting up the little hill where the houses of the Sisters are located and reveals the beauty of this place.

There are huge butterflies, an unbelievable amount of birds, big frogs hopping around, banana trees, mango trees, papaya trees and just green everywhere. Everywhere you can hear the sound of birds and grills that start their day and in the background you have the sound of the wind and the sea. I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to wake up in this amazing place.

I had a short meeting with the principal and all the teachers at Selwyn College in the morning to introduce my research project and the idea of the ACoM Environment Observatory, which I plan to set up here at Selwyn College during the next days.

The ACoM Environment Observatory is based on simple observations of temperature, rainfall, water levels, shoreline change, and extreme events by local people. The idea behind this approach is that local people can create their own scientific evidence of climate change, which will then be centralised and made available to different stakeholders on an open-access online platform. Selwyn College will be the first location to test this observatory for the period of one year.

As a more in-depth meeting with interested staff was agreed upon for the evening, I had a whole afternoon to explore Veranaaso or “stroll” as the Sisters would say. I had really interesting conversations about cultural differences with some of the novices, saw some beautiful beaches and visited the nearby Franciscan Brothers.

In the evening, I met with science teachers and the principal of Selwyn College, Mr Napthali Lakwolly, to discuss how the ACoM Environment Observatory can be installed and integrated into everyday life at Selwyn College. Everyone is very enthusiastic about the prospect of having an observatory here. Tomorrow, we’ll start working on it!

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