Firstly allow me to apologise. I haven’t had a chance to sit down and write for a while – something that I myself get more upset about than anything else. Please believe me when I say that I think of this blog every day and the guilt just piles on when I haven’t written for a while. However, I do not feel guilty for taking a much needed holiday to slow the pace of life down, nor do I feel guilty about trying my hardest to give the people I love more time where I just sit down and listen to them. I recently had a friend give me the honest truth about how I hadn’t been the greatest of friend of late – it was hard to hear but she said this out of love and respect for our friendship. This particular friend may as well be a sister to me and I let our relationship slide for a while which is totally not on. I’m sending her a lot of a love and a big thank you right now – she knows who she is. For those out there who have friends good enough to tell them you’re not being the best friend you can be, please cherish these, look after them and give them the time they deserve – you won’t regret it.
For a while now, I’ve been meaning to give you a blog where I show lots of great photo’s and write less. As you can imagine from the amount that I write, I can talk a hell of a lot in person. Too much many a time. The other day I swear I spoke for a good 30 minutes about – wait for it – whether one arm was more tanned than the other. WHETHER ONE ARM WAS MORE TANNED THAN THE OTHER. Too much Marita – too much!!
So, being as concise as possible, allow me to give you the current situation for children’s health in Kiribati. Here are quotes from Catarina de Albuquerque – dedicated Special UN Reporter on the Right to Water and Sanitation – her report after visiting Kiribati earlier this year:
- “the child mortality rate in Kiribati…the highest in the Pacific”
- “a large proportion of the population in Kiribati practises open defecation, which means that people use the sea and bushes as their toilets. This has serious implications for people’s health, as human waste spreads diseases”
- “Inadequate waste water management systems for existing toilets, a lack of hand washing habits and open defecation result in an explosive combination leading to many preventable child deaths”
- “first step to improve the situation is to explicitly assign responsibilities for sanitation to a Government department and to provide it with the necessary human and financial resources.”
All these kids are my cousins or my cousin’s children and they are all extremely lucky to be alive. At the moment their future predicts them to be obese, prone to Type 2 diabetes by their forties and lose the majority of their teeth around the same time. For those that have already started to grow their adult teeth, it is highly likely they lost their baby teeth due to them rotting early from an insufficient diet.
I don’t know how much clearer I can be.
The sanitation and health situation in Kiribati urgently needs a massive overhaul. And it all starts with everyone (especially the Kiribati community) being educated on how these can be fixed. It all starts with clean water to wash your hands with. That’s the first step.
Also, I want to give a special mention to everyone that sends me links, talks about my blog, approaches me on things they have learnt or things that I should read. The biggest compliment is when people tell me they are learning something new from this blog. Thanks for learning with me and keep approaching me, emailing me, messaging me, tweeting to me and talking – I love every bit of it.
Sources and further reading: