8-14 My mommy came to visit! Part 1: Lessons in flexibility

This is the airplane we take to Pentecost.  It has 16 seats.

My mother is a preschool teacher in the Minneapolis Public Schools. She gets summers off, unless she decides to teach summer school. This is a great time to do work on the house, catch up on projects, make Milk Carton Boats and go on vacation. She decided a vacation to the South Pacific was in order.

Before she left, she got a few lessons in flexibility including a downed tree on the only road back into town and a broken refrigerator. I figured that was just the world prepping her for travel in Vanuatu.
We timed her visit to coincide with me being in Vila for a meeting. My meeting got changed from Tuesday to Wednesday with only two weeks notice. There are only three flight to Pentecost a week, they leave Monday, Wednesday and Saturday mornings. We tried to find a way that I could make it to the meeting and we could still spend a week on Pentecost.
I called all six ships that have recently serviced Pentecost on Saturday to ask about their shipping schedules for the week. They didn’t have them published yet. I called back on Monday only to find out that Makila, Tina 1, Brisk and Saratoga were all broken. Fresh Cargo wasn’t coming this way and Halice had just left for Tanna. I’d heard a rumor that the Sarafenua had gotten repaired and was back in service. I called them back and was told to call the Captain to find out when he planned on leaving port. He didn’t pick up. That left me with the Efate Queen, which leaves Vila on Sunday evening, about three days later than we wanted to be leaving.
This is the luggage carousel in Santo.  We’re high tech here…
I decided that missing my meeting was my best option. I discussed it with the committee and with a minimum of drama is was decided that would be acceptable. We hadn’t paid for Ma’s flight, since we weren’t sure we’d actually be able to use it. We went to Air Vanuatu to pay only to find out that she’d been taken off the flight and it was now full. We put her on the waiting list and I went to the Peace Corps staff member who primarily deals with Air Vanuatu. She worked her magic and and on Wednesday morning, we got on a flight to Pentecost via Santo. It wasn’t hte flight we were originally on, but it was going to get us there.
We went snorkeling .  
There were two flights from Santo to Pentecost that day because a church group had bought out one entire plane’s worth of seats. They were doing a quick round trip run, land in Santo, fly to Pentecost, fly back to Santo, swing by Ambae on the way back to Pentecost. Of course, the luggage handlers are not at the level of sophistication required to get bags on the same flight as the person. (From what I hear, that’s true in the States, too.) We landed on Pentecost with only one of our two checked bags. We waited an hour or more for the flight to come back with our second. That worked out fine since our driver was an hour late to pick us up anyway.
We got to my house in Vansemakul without any further hassles. The driver even stopped and reversed the truck so my mom could see the waterfall on the way to the village. He won points for that in my book.

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