First of all, my most sincere apologies to my loyal readers. I know that for the past 6 months this blog hasn’t been overly active with new articles and the latest issues. BUT! I have a good excuse! I think….
For the past 14 months, I packed up my busy life in Melbourne, quit my job, bought an 1985 VW Caravelle and hit the open road with my partner, Seamus. We decided that we wanted to see more of Australia and so off we went to drive the big lap around the country.
Although, when something like that becomes a focus, other things lose their spotlight for a moment. The Little Island That Could was one of those things that had the lights dimmed for a moment. But don’t for a second start thinking that I lost my passion to write on everything to do with Kiribati. Never! It’s just that – with most things – every now and again you need to step back and just give yourself time to refocus and reflect on the path you have taken so far.
For me, time out in some of the most remote parts of Australia made me reflect and think about what matters to me most. I may not know much and I certainly have a lot to learn but allow me to share a thought with you.
I have come to believe that in order to go the direction you want to in life, one must always look, respect and learn from what came before them. It may be within the family, your family traditions or your ethnic background, wherever you feel you may learn! For the past few years I have been on an exploration to learn more about my Kiribati culture and for the past year I have explored what it means to be Australian today. Of course this is an ongoing journey but not once have I thought that these discoveries were a waste of time.
It’s a comforting thought to know that my hips and hair are just like the Kiribati women that came before me. My nose is most most definitely from my Dad’s Welsh ancestry. My constant laughing is from the islanders but my uncomfortableness at arguments and yelling is more reflective of the Davies’ side of the family. I hate arguing and I think anyone who knows a Pacific Islander can agree that islanders love a good scream and shout match.
For me personally, these small insights have become incredibly fulfilling and nourishing for the soul.
It is only the Kiribati people that can really, truly share the environmental, alcohol, health and violence issues that Kiribati face and all the complexities that come with these. Yes journalists can report but to really reach an audience with your heart and soul, your audience must absolutely feel your need to share this information. Never underestimate how your emotional ties to a community, a family, a country can inform and educate.
So now that I have taken a step back, I am ready to once again shine the light right onto the issues that matter.
By respecting our elders and striving for an optimistic future, let’s share our Pacific issues with the world.
4 Comments Add yours
Lovely to hear from you again. Always a pleasure to read your thoughtful posts. The people of Kiribati appear to have started to deal with the “environmental, alcohol, health and violence issues that Kiribati face and all the complexities that come with these.” Of these challenges/issues, which do you think is the biggest?
Great to hear from you again! I know that their problems with sea level rise is clear and severely threatening. but personally I feel that there is so much focus on this that other issues are ignored. Right now, I feel that their biggest problems are health. Children are lucky to get to their first birthday, diabetes is now being inherited and obesity is everywhere. The Kiribati people are shockingly uneducated when it comes to their health and the Government does not do enough to help this. Sugar and salt are a main part of every meal which is sickening to see when you’re there. I really do think farming and agricultural initiatives would benefit the community – in terms of health, local produce and the encouragement for people to move back to the outer islands, therefore not over populating (and polluting) Tarawa. Oh I could rant on forever!
What about you Marianne? In your time there, what do you think was the biggest challenge?
A phrase sticks in my head: “A nation generally receives the level of health care that it demands.” On Marakei I got the impression that nurses were not expected to do a lot of good, that the hospital in Tarawa was where one went to die, and that death was an accepted part of life. There somehow needs to be a mind-shift on the outer islands especially that better health outcomes are possible. Plus, it would good to see more I-Kiribati doctors who make their homes on the outer islands.