From little things…

For those who have read previous posts of mine, you would have some inkling that the UN Secretary General was going to visit Kiribati for a 2 day visit.  Mr Ban Ki-moon is the first UN Secretary General to visit not only Kiribati but also the Pacific Island area in 65 years so this is a big deal!  Again, as I have said in previous posts, the fact that he has made a special effort to get to Kiribati is a huge sign that things aren’t right in the Pacific and the UN are now going to have a look for themselves at the problems that are out there.  So to all those people that have been reporting, asking questions, taking photo’s, graph monitoring, writing and checking out Kiribati themselves this is a big thank you to you.  Obviously Kiribati has a long way to go in terms of keeping the country actually there, it is a huge deal for Kiribati that Ki-moon went to Tarawa to see it for himself.  Check out this report about his conversations with the President Anote Tong

Ki-moon is greeted with a traditional welcome
Now at the risk of sounding really stupid, I’ve been sitting here for a while thinking, how do you keep the waves at bay?  Sure the country and drowning and that’s a shitty thing but honestly, how do you stop the tides getting higher? To be honest, I’m not too sure if I can answer that question and given that this whole blog is about me campaigning for Kiribati to be saved I now sound like a complete idiot sitting on their high horse yelling ‘SAVE THE WORLD YOU BASTARDS!’.  Right now,  I’m actually sitting in lovely cafe in the middle of Melbourne with my cup of tea and gluten-free toast with homemade jam having a whinge about the world.  There’s even a Jason Mraz album playing to complete the picture. What a dickhead.  Really.
For my sake and your knowledge here are some specific things that are happening around the country to improve the Kiribati’ economy and living.  Small as they are, every little bit helps:
Improve tourism: Tourism in Kiribati is pretty much zilch even though it’s an amazing place.  It’s kind of hard to get there and it’s expensive.  They have set up a new website advertising it’s fishing, untapped surfing – paradise on earth.
‘The country registered the highest proportion of growth in visitor arrivals among all Pacific Islands Forum countries in the first quarter of this year: a whopping 36.30 per cent against a regional average of just 2.5 percent, which itself is encouraging in times when most tourism markets are experiencing a downturn.’  (www.pacifictradeinvest.com/wp/?p=1440) By improving tourism, Kiribati’ economy as well as awareness of the problems improve dramatically.
Plant Mangrove trees:
Now here’s a great thing.  Mangrove trees grow extremely well in humidity and the best thing about them is that they hold sand together.  By planting them it forms a natural wall and creates a barrier for the sea.  The government have just planted 1000 trees for their first batch.  A top top top solution.
Campaigning for water tanks, especially on the outer islands:  Salt water is starting to inundate the islands from below as well as from all sides.  Due to the islands being only about 2-3 metres about sea level, salt water has started rotting trees, seeping into freshwater wells.  ”…the sea is coming under ground, not from the sea, it just come under the ground and mix with our main subsistence food which is taro. The water around the village is very salty and they can’t even wash, can’t even cook with it.” (http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=62863)
Tanks catch the rain water and due to rain be very prevalent during the wet season, this would surely be a simple answer to a worrying problem.  Only thing is, how the hell do we get all those tanks to all the outer islands?  Money again would help.  Money that Kiribati doesn’t have.  And the beat goes on….
So yes, I really need to get to Kiribati.  I need to actually talk to my family, contribute to building part of the fricking sea wall, catch some fish, collect coconuts, build a raft, weave a hut, laugh with the cousins, sweep the floor, cook the meals, play cards with my Grandma and her toothless sisters, fix a net, sing with the beautiful girls, learn how to dance, jump in the water, teach english to the little ones, the list of course is ridiculously long.
To keep you guys updated on me, I’ve just moved back to Australia after living in the UK for the past 2 and a bit years so I’m a bit of a nomad at the moment.  Basically, the plan is, is that I’m waiting to hear back from a job in Sydney.  If I do get it, I’ll go to Sydney, if I don’t, I’ll head straight to the islands.  However, money as usual is a slight hinderance and I can’t actually afford a flight there at the moment so this is an annoying factor but hey, things always work out so I’m sure something will come up.  Ha!  Story of my life right there!  But I really do believe that if things are supposed to happen a certain way, then everything will fall into place.  I’ll keep you updated on my quest to get to the islands.  In the meantime, I’ll keep bloggering away and share the news on Kiribati so you guys can come here for the latest news (and yes, I’m slightly slow on this front but come on, I’m trying).
Oh and my mum has just started campaigning to be elected as Parliament Representative for the island of Marekai!  This blog is a bit long for an update on her but once I speak to Mum I’ll get some gossip on how it’s going and report back.  Good luck Nei Teaote, I’m bloody proud to be your daughter.
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One thought on “From little things…

  1. So glad you did make the trip … would have loved to sit down and discuss things. Maybe when you come back … and you will be back … can’t help it! Maybe you should check out the opportunities at Australian Volunteers International (they’re in Melbourne) … or AusAID … come back in a capacity to make a real difference. Help your mum get elected next time! Run yourself!

    I have mixed feelings about tourism … especially after seeing what it has done to Fiji and Tonga, to name a few places. Kiribati does not have the resources to deal with the “needs” of tourists. If they want pools, golf courses, tennis courts, western restaurants, etc … that will absolutely ruin what’s left of this beautiful place … and the lack of water will place tremendous pressure on the local inhabitants. And, think of the wastes created!

    If tourism is to be “developed”, I’d like to see it built around a Kiribati experience. If you want to play golf, etc … go to Hawaii, or Fiji, or … stay home! If you want to experience the life of a beautiful culture, and want to laugh, sing, and dance until you are rolling on the ground (and are flexible and patient), come live like an I-Kiribati!

    Problem is, it may be tough to get them to leave after the experience!

    Oh how I love it here!
    Why did I wait so long?

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