Published on 24th October 2016
Peter Bellingham is a volunteer Boat Building Adviser for VSA at Nazareth Rehabilitation Programme (NRP) in Chabai, Bougainville.
Peter's assignment helps improve the skills of disadvantaged youth in Bougainville by providing them hands-on training in boat building and repairs.
Recently Peter took up the challenge from Sister Lorraine to build a special type of sailing canoe for an upcoming festival. It's a special type of canoe that has never been built before in Bougainville - a combination of a traditional Bougainville canoe, but with a Polynesian sail.
Peter and his young team set to work on the challenge and other volunteers and locals all pitched in to help. The canoe (called Matchin Bay) was completed just in time for the festival (see above). Now everyone is learning how to sail and the building team has started on the next boat which is a new design about twice the size. There's even talk about racing them.
Check out this wonderful video of Matchin Bay's launch made by fellow Bougainville volunteer Jared Linnell.