Mental and Physical Toughness: World Vision officer puts project before life.

February 05th, 2018 Honiara - Have you ever heard about the story of a passionate World Vision worker who risked his own life on the line only to visit project communities in his area programs? You might have heard a similar tale before, but this is real for Cedric Vichi, 36, who is always passionate about what he does for communities under his World Vision jurisdiction – The Weather Coast Area Programs – in South Guadalcanal.

Cedric Vichi, 36, is one of two World Vision’s Community Development Facilitators for Community Channels of Hope project responsible for the weather coast area programs. His colleague, Yaxley 33, is the only one who would accompany him to visit communities on the Weather Coast. The following is an account by Cedric sharing his experience during his first visit to project communities in the Weather Coast area in January this year. One has to be physically fit for Cedric’s journey.

“I can hear birds chirping, felt the cool sea breeze coming in through the window, heard the whispering sounds of small waves breaking on the long stretch of white sandy beach, children counting “one”, “two”, “three” from the distance.

Photo: Langi Pitia/ World Vision 
It was a beautiful cold morning in Marau. Looking out to the ocean from the balcony, I saw the sun started to shine casting its reflection on the fine glassy sea, bringing miles onto my face. I knew it is going to be a good day to travel down to the project communities."

"I planned out my day and activities in my head while staring at the rooftop built using neatly weaved sago palm leaves. Time is catching up and these project activities have to be completed within the given timeframe."

"Yaxley, for this trip he was assigned to visit three communities in the little Islands just outside Marau station while I visit the other four communities on the mainland. I jumped into a three-tone truck from Marau station to get to the first project community and spent the night there. Travelled by three tone truck again for two hours the next day and walk three hours to get to the next community. I started walking with my backpack again on the rough road, no bridges, crossing rivers, walk along streams, uphill, getting through muddy bush tracks to get to the communities and it rains most of the time. To protect my laptop and other documents in my bag, I had to cover my bag and my head with banana leaves and continue walking. That is normal for us Guadalcanal people” Cedric sighed, taking a deep breath, shook his head with a smile.

The fourth project community, Naho is located 50 km uphill from Marau. Sometimes if the two community facilitators missed the vehicle, they had to walk all the way up from one community to another till they reach Naho. Cedric couldn’t make it to the last community on this trip because it was raining heavily, strong winds and dark grey fogs covered the nearby hills, which tells that the weather will continue that way for the next couple of days and the rivers are a foreboding force that cannot be easily crossed without bridges.

After visiting the third community, Boka, Cedric planned to return to Marau, so he would not miss his flight back to Honiara despite the weather conditions. As he started walking back, a tractor with a long trailer at the back passed by and picked him up. The tractor was carrying women, children and high school students with their luggage.

I managed to find a space in the tractor-trailer and sat down. We came to Boka river. It was a bit narrow when it flows down. The width of the river banks on both sides are about 3-4 meters wide and the river itself is about 10 to 15 meters in width. It was clean and clear, I can see the big stones at the bottom of the river bed. The driver has decided to drive us across. We came to a halt in the middle of the river. Tyres got stuck in between the stones and the current is strong. Two minutes later, the river turned brown, coming down with strong force carrying dead leaves, logs, sticks and dirt. The strong current flipped the cart, but seconds before it flipped over, women and all the children jumped off into the river and started swimming across to the other side. I panicked so I jumped off the wrong side of the tractor and the current almost pushed me down under it. I swam across with my bag in one hand trying to keep it dry. I managed to step on the stones but the current was too strong. I, however, managed to reach the riverside. No one was injured, we all got wet and waited till it was safe to cross. It was passed 12 noon when we manage to cross the river."

“Then I walked seven hours to another community called Tavala and spent the night there. I reached Tavala at 7 pm in the evening. Then I took 2 hours ride down to Marau by a three-tone truck. My legs were tired and swollen from the long walk and body ache from the cold rain.” Cedric sighed.

Cedric also mentioned that there were times when he and Yaxley would walk through rain along the way and would hide under the big trees for hours and at times they would cut wild leaves along the bush tracks to use an umbrella to protect their bags from getting wet to get to the project communities for implementing project activities. Every trip is an ordeal of mental and physical toughness for soft-spoken Cedric.

Asked what motivates him to continue working on the CCOH project in that area despite the challenges, he smiled and said, “Home is where the heart is.” For Cedric and Yaxley, every day is a tribute to how much they care about their job, their boss and their co-workers and for the people in the project communities in the Weather Coast of Guadalcanal. 


World Vision’s Community Channels of Hope is a 4-year project that aims to improve and build a community of moral respect and to reduce gender-based violence across the 15 communities since 2015. The project has been extended since June 2017 and works in 7 communities, empowering the Community of Hope Action Team, operating as NGOs in their own communities.  Channels of Hope project is supported by the Australian Government.