Mi Wantem Parcels (I want my Luggage). Bislama in Vanuatu

The national language of Vanuatu is Bislama, a form of pidgin English mixed with the odd French word, thanks to the islands history being ruled by the Anglo-Franco condominium. A rather unique and bizarre joint colonial rule that lasted until independence in 1980. Wonderful stories exist of the rivalry between the French and British, such as paying for an independent Swiss national to oversee all flag raisings to ensure neither countries flag was higher!

The language is wonderful, being often a phonetic representation of a word, ‘bugarup’ means broken (buggered up!). The notice above in the tiny airport at Craig Cove, Ambrym, can be literally translated as:

"Restricted Notice to the Public
The time the plane lands, please no man or woman go close up to the plane.
The reason is parcels are being lost many times as people grab them believing them to be theirs.
No more can you get close to the plane without signing a manifest to stop any confusion with the airport agent.
Time you get the parcel you do not wait very long at the office and you sign them out.
Respect”

Of course it was not followed in the slightest and the local populace converged on the plane after it had landed, jostling to grab parcels and luggage from the back of the plane…


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