Dreaming of an island getaway? Add this one to your bucket list.
Before all the restrictions of COVID-19 became a reality, back in July last year, Rev Dennis Doust, retired Uniting Church WA Minister, spent two weeks in a remote village on Ghizo Island in the South Pacific. He shares his experience with Revive.
Simplicity of lifestyle is a central value in living a Christ-centred life. Hence, finding a low-cost South Pacific location where Christian ministry and lifestyle interface, is a Godly provision indeed. Thanks to the fact that my daughter, Zoe Doust was working as a volunteer with the Solomon Islands ‘legal aid’ service, knowledge of this location came to us.
Time out amongst the people of Sagheraghi village was of minimal cost, yet enormous respite blessing to our family group. Sagheraghi village on the western side of Ghizo Island is a relatively remote paradise. Access is by a 50-minute rough road trip. Alternatively there is a more luxurious, quicker powerboat trip. Both are worthwhile, telling experiences.
Urilolo Lodge is an amazingly peaceful tropical hideaway. The local folk have a strong commitment to Christ, supporting mission work within the United Church (Methodist) in the Solomon Islands. Their welcome is genuinely warm and friendly.
For lodge accommodation, the Village Chief William, has built two delightfully comfortable natural timber and thatch chalets. Raised on pole foundations, they front the crystal clear waters of a stunning, reef protected bay. The extensive soft, golden-sand beach gives some indication of the coral growth and fish in the gently beckoning deeper blue waters. Tall coconut palms provide a pleasant vista across ocean and land.
As there is limited lodge accommodation, you are unlikely to share this beautiful tropical bay, or the village, with any other non-Solomon Islanders. If your preference is to have timeout with a well-stocked bar, house service, hot water and all ‘modcons’, Urilolo is not your spot. The facilities are traditional, quaint, clean and refreshingly simple. Three hearty meals of Solomon Island grown food come well prepared each day, or you may self-cater.
If you love the idea of recreating in an isolated South Pacific, natural paradise, you will be blessed.
Indeed, a major opportunity I found on this holiday was the chance to fulfil the biblical injunction of knowing that in Christ Jesus we are ‘blessed to be a blessing’. This holiday break provided for us some opportunity to support the fragile economy of Sagheraghi village. Personally, I much prefer my limited dollars go this way, rather than to a company or wealthy resort owner – often foreign.
Sagheraghi’s Sunday worship service was uplifting. Three different languages were spoken – the English I suspect as a concession to us visitors. Singing was robust and from the heart, children were present in great numbers, Bibles carried by worshippers were very well-worn.
It was an outright privilege for us to be received as guests and friends. Sagheraghi villagers are inspirational in demonstrating such contentedness in Christ, in the midst of material minimalism. With limited or less-restricted finances available, it is a great place to informally immerse oneself in a Christ-centred simple lifestyle. The children also enjoy the natural gifts of Godly culture and relationship (with local kids) – of freedom abounding on land or the sea.