Handrikraft senta vendors unite to welcome their visitors

What immediately caught my attention as I walked down towards the Handicraft Centre in Vanuatu’s capital yesterday morning, was the way that strangers walked along the street as if they were walking and swinging their hands to the string band beat of “Swing to the right swing to the left”, and a sudden current of connecting something bigger than big.

I entered the building and got caught in the middle, there was dancing by women in spectacular uniform, to welcome the arrival of the first tourists after two years of lockdown.

I surveyed each table and was welcomed by the unique smile that landed Vanuatu in the category of the “happiest people on the planet” quite a while back.

This time, the vendors made sure that even their tables too smiled with the natural beauty of local flowers.

A tourist was interested in the painting by a vendor. I introduced myself and asked her to “keep talking” as I was going to take a picture.

Just as well the young artist kept explaining her work while I clicked away on my camera and suddenly, the artist had convinced the tourist who pulled out some notes and bought one of her paintings.

I quickly walked to the next table to experience the feeling of joy by those vendors making money again after two years of draught.

The sound of “Swing to the right swing to the left” continued.

It seems likely that the vendors have made their mark to convince the Cruise companies that the country is ready to welcome their vessels and passengers back.