In 1972 when Neil Begley went to live in Vanuatu, it was called the New Hebrides and was a colony jointly ruled by Britain and France. His contract was for two years, but such was the pull of this magical country he stayed for nine.
In a light-hearted, anecdotal style this book explores expatriate life on a Pacific island. Vanuatu 1972–1981 describes the quixotic way in which the two competing European powers ruled these islands and introduces us to the indigenous people and their ancient customs and sacred rituals.
The book covers the period of the country’s transformation from colony to independent nation and tells the parallel story of the passage to maturity of Willie, a young indigenous lad from the island of Tanna.
The island of Tanna in Vanuatu was severely damaged by Cyclone Pam in March 2015. All of the profits from the sale of this book will be going towards construction of a cyclone proof Community Centre at Ibeker, South West Tanna. The Community Centre will have many everyday uses as well as being a refuge for the people when future cyclones strike the island.