Sailing couple on mission to help

PAUL and Chris Taylor's holiday last year to Papua New Guinea's (PNG) island of Gigila may have culminated with the building of a 19ft open runabout boat for the community, but they plan to up the ante by building a school on their return next year.

“We got so much from it, the people there are wonderful,” Mr Taylor said.

“It's as much a health issue as it is an education one.”

As students now sit on dirt floors in flea-ridden thatch huts, the Taylors are calling on the Bundaberg community to help the Gigila School project.

“It will be a focal point for the community,” Mr Taylor said, adding that the above-ground, timber-floored building could be used at all times for other community events.

“They'll all benefit.”

Mr Taylor described just a taste of the generosity the community members displayed - such as local teacher Olive, who nurses as she teaches and puts a roof over six or seven children's heads during the week so they can attend school.

He said the project would take about nine weeks to complete, and the $20,000 to $25,000 building, with open shutters and a 2.4m wide verandah, could be used for a number of activities.

“The biggest problem will be the logistics to move the materials,” Mr Taylor said.

He said he would get the resources from mainland PNG, to aid the local economy, but would most likely need to charter a trade boat since the island was 130 nautical miles from the mainland.

The couple are looking at leaving Bundaberg in August next year, and estimate it will take just over seven days by yacht to cover the 860 nautical miles.

The Taylors are having a trivia night at the Lighthouse Hotel at Burnett Heads next Saturday, to raise funds.

For more information, telephone the Taylors on 0403 863 508.



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