Author(s): Bridget Isichei
What happens when a young New Zealand woman feels the need to escape the online reality that is her life and goes in search of 'real' life experience in poverty-stricken Vanuatu? Bridget Isichei wanted to make a difference in the world; she wanted to help people. However, she didn't know what she was in for when she accepted a two-year volunteer humanitarian post to set up preschools and train women to be teachers in the popular tourist destination of Vanuatu. Instead of cocktails by the sea in a luxury resort, Bridget found herself in Luganville, a shanty town whose inhabitants were still practising black magic and wearing the same fashions bought in by missionary women in the 1800s. Worse was to come. Bridget soon discovered that in Vanuatu's hierarchy women were ranked lower than pigs, and the elevated status of men was seen as God-given. After numerous botched attempts at fulfilling her brief, Bridget decided to enrol the women she was working with in a correspondence teaching course. She hoped the knowledge they gained would help them improve their low status, as well as guarantee their children a better education. She could never have predicted the fierce opposition her plan would face from every corner of the community. The outcry was uproarious: Women should know their place - and know better than to try to improve themselves! Road No Good is a ground-level account of the journey of a group of the world's least fortunate women to become the first educated women on their island and thereby control their own destinies. It is also Bridget's story, as she learns from these women the true art of gratitude, faith and contentment even in the face of unimaginable adversity and loss. This is a true story of hope and heart, and of the resilience and capacity of the human spirit to achieve greatness against the odds.