Nine-year-old Elijah More, of Alexandra, is working hard to earn money to help pay for his trip to Vanuatu in July, one piece of firewood at a time.
He is part of a 12-strong team from the Alexandra Elim Church, which is going to the tiny village of Lounapiktuan, on Tanna Island, to repair primary school and high school classrooms and start building another house, from July 5.
Elijah has raised about $250 so far by holding garage sales, selling soap scrubs and gingerbread men (which he helped his mum Sarah make), and doing household chores.
“I have jobs to do around the house, like bringing in the wood,” Elijah said.
“I get $1 for bringing in 10 pieces of wood.
“I have to pick up everything that shouldn’t be on the floor, vacuum the whole floor, empty and stack the dishwasher and I get $1 a job.”
Each team member has to raise $2500 to pay for the trip and expenses.
Elijah will be going with his dad, Aaron More, who is the pastor for the church.
Ken and Heather Taylor, of Alexandra, are also going.
Mr Taylor is a church elder, while Mrs Taylor is a nutritionist at Dunstan High School, and while she is in Vanuatu, she will be teaching food classes.
“This is the third time I have been over, working in the village to help them out with projects,” Mr Taylor said.
Previously, church members had built a family home, installed spouting on several houses and painted school classrooms.
He said the village of 80 had no running water or electricity, and drinking water was a scarce commodity.
The villagers relied on rainwater. There were no creeks and water had to be carried in 20-litre containers from 8km away.
The church members will have to supply their own water, so as not to be a burden on the villagers, and will be buying about 10 or 12 dozen bottles of water before arriving there.
Elijah said he wanted to go to Vanuatu as his father was going.
He was also keen to take his cricket gear to teach the other children how to play.
Mrs More said they wanted their children to experience different cultures and meet people less fortunate than themselves.
“It will be a challenge for Elijah, as there is no technology,” she said.
They would also be ministering to the villagers.
“We are going help the people to know Jesus, and pray for them,” Elijah said.
Church members have also made pumpkin soup and cheese rolls to raise funds for the trip.
For orders contact firstname.lastname@example.org – three soup pottles for $20 or one soup and 12 cheese rolls for $15.