Central Pentecost village sets example

On Sunday 7th April, Lekaro Market welcomes people as usual with Vaia String Band as entertainer in its fundraising.

Its history begun with a shelter being constructed with traditional material through an initiative taken by Gun Community to sell kava and foods every Sunday afternoon, as an opportunity to gain some money for family needs. When the shelter got rotten, community leaders decided to build a new one.

With the new shelter being erected through financial assistance from NGOs and politicians, Lekaro Market is becoming today the centre of multi purposes making the small village an outstanding one in Central Pentecost.

All villages on Pentecost or other islands in Vanuatu are rich with traditional wealth and resources. Lekaro has also this qualities but today plays the role of provider in terms of satisfaction, unity, prosperity and all we can name to describe how a village with initially two families has been chosen to be the centre of all CP1 and CP2 gatherings with hope to be one day the most popular place to enjoy life with friends and families.

Lekaro with its very small population of twenty people compare to its neighbors Baga, Saut, Gun and Ubiku that compose the Gun Community is not very rich as many people think. With its commitment under the leadership of its chief Rodolphe Virewala supported by his colleagues from Gun Community, the village has acquired the qualities to serve the interests of its people and the ones hailing from other villages in CP1 and CP2.

From Sunday to Sunday, people need the help from Lekaro Market and its committee being put in place by Gun Community, led by Chanel Buleuru. From Monday to Saturday, the turn is given to individuals, families and Gun community itself.

Other communities needing help, Lekaro Market is the best place to raise money and the time is chosen: Sunday afternoon after the Church Service is the best time people chose to gather together before going back to their respective village. For instance on Sunday 7th March, the Vaila String Band from the neighboring community from Illa organized its fundraising and the people helped it raised Vt227,000.

Lekaro Market is becoming the place where people come together to show their solidarity to communities with financial assistance, the only place to socialize with others, sharing foods and kava. With regular visitors in Central Pentecost, the market is becoming popular.

Locals gain money easily from kava and in the evening after a long day in the garden, men from same village who are too tired to grind their kava with stone in traditional nakamals tend to pay for truck (two trips) to go to Lekaro Market. Every Sunday, the most popular day, more trucks from the villages parked at Lekaro to service the people.

“It is the only time each week when we see how the market is very busy with people and transport. It is the only time we meet each other,” a young man from Gun Community, Davy Tabilebo told Daily Post.

To meet each other and gather together for a purpose brings unity amongst people. Gun Community needed this unity for so long after being affected by some issues and problems related to some decisions which are influenced by people from other communities. Its “Temat” or taboo stone for its protection in its Nakamal has been removed during one of these issues which involved police intervention to calm a dispute with its neighboring Illa Community. The two communities have decided to bury this bad past and to re-establish good ties between them. Through Lekaro Market, their members have something else to talk about rather than pointing fingers on each other.

People from other communities that form with them the eleven Nakamals at Melsisi Area share the same point of view. Today Lekaro Market is becoming the centre for multi-purpose activities: money raising, socializing and meeting to maintain the true spirit of unity.

When a community, or a family or a youth group or a women’s group is in need and is organizing an event to raise money at Lekaro Market, it must make sure it is well prepared to serve hundreds of people at the same time who come, not just to give their financial part, big or small, but to meet families. Sunday afternoon, Lekaro Village is also becoming the usual place for chiefs to meet each other and to share ideas on how they can better manage their communities.

Gun Community has set an example the others should follow.

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