Community Mango Station Style

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Each year, a group of past delegates and facilitators from the Forum head off the beaten path in search of community, adventure, long conversations and a way to put this idea of “servant leadership” into practice. This July, a group of us spent 2 weeks with friends on the island of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu. This piece is a short reflection submitted by one of the past delegates who participated.

For me, the Forum Bridging Initiative trip to Vanuatu was a great chance to experience life in a much more close knit community than the one I have at home. Although we were staying on the property of two lovely people, Joanna and Raphael, it really felt like we were staying with the whole village. There was always a buzz of activity as neighboring children played together in the backyard or all the village men would get together for a huge game of soccer down on the fields by the river.

A particular highlight for me was a night when the water in the village had been shut off. Our shower wasn’t working so a group of us decided we would all go down to the river to swim instead. It was dark when we got down there and we didn’t expect to see anyone else. However, it seemed like every child in the village had been sent down. The shore was packed with over fifty kids playing together by moonlight. They immediately accepted us into their games and we ended up having an incredible time diving into the pitch black evening water and splashing the kids who hadn’t yet made their way in. As we left all the kids stopped to wave and say goodbye. They had immediately accepted us into their community. Even though we were outsiders these children had made room for us in their lives. This was typical of our time in Vanuatu. All the villages we visited welcomed us into their community and made us feel instantly welcome.

The key thing I took away from the trip was how enjoyable and valuable it is to reach outside myself and engage with the people around me on a deeper level.

Title: Community Mango Station Style
Author: Past Delegate
Format: Reflection Piece
Year Published: 2015
Publisher: NSLF
Access: NSLF Online Library

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