The Gaomai Radio

© David Kerr 2001-2004

Gaomai is a village of about 1,000 on Alu Island in the Shortland Islands. You can see it on our chart of the Solomons. It is the Western of the two small Islands labelled "Shortland Islands" just South of Bougainville. This area at the top end of the Solomon Islands is quite close to Bougainville, PNG.

Gaomai is about as far as you can get from the main areas of the Solomon Islands. The people trade fish and other items with Bougainville, however this was disrupted during the years of tension and fighting on Bougainville. The coastline of Bougainville is only a few kilometres away.

 

We were very impressed with this fast growing village. The wise leadership of Chief Silverio was very evident. Communications with the village are very slow as there is no radio. This made for many difficulties, for instance when someone was seriously ill. There is a small clinic, but medical advice can be needed and sometimes a person might need medical evacuiation. Ordering of supplies from elsewhere in the Solomons was also an arduous task.

So, we decided to do something for these good people.We were not sure how things would work out, but told the story to friends and workmates back inAustralia. We did this via email, sent over our High Frequency Radio and an excellent non-profit service called "Sailmail". We were overwhelmed with the generosity of a small group of inspired people and only a few months later, we had around SD$18,000 [about A$4, 500]. Through Missionary friends in the Solomons, we were able to order a radio, battery, solar panel and antenna free of tax and have these transported to Gaomai where the radio now resides in the Clinic, where it is used for a multitude of things, including daily medical clinics with the Hospital in Gizo.

We had a plaque made up with the names of all the generous people. This plaque was attached to the top of the radio as a reminder about those who made this impossible dream come true for the people of Gaomai.

Last changed: 9th May 2004