And from there, word by work, sentence by sentence, essay by essay, my culture started to seep in. Bit by bit. It didn’t happen straight away.
The culture seeps into my soul, like coconut oil being gently rubbed into my skin. The smells of salt, rotting rubbish, raw fish, sugar, bananas, dirt, sand, dead dogs, sweet toddy, bars of velvet soap, coconut oil, salted smoke fish, soy sauce and fresh bread buns. The sounds of cards slapping the floor on the…
I’ve been writing long enough to know that the writing mojo comes in waves. Sometimes it’s there and sometimes it isn’t. It’s so frustrating when it isn’t, but it will pass. So, I’ve decided to pass the buck somewhat. Instead of forcing something that’s not there, I have asked my mum to write down her recipe for Kiribati donuts.
There is no hiding that like so many other Kiribati men, my grandfather was abusive to my grandma. He was physically overbearing over Terira. There is a story that my grandma spent a night clinging to the inside of a well while my grandfather, in a rage, raced around looking for his wife.
If I can’t recognize the power storytelling and the advice my elders are passing onto me, how can I expect my future children to understand?
The canoe is made by the men in the village, but this couldn’t be done without relying on the strength and quality of the women’s rope. A thought which I find so wonderful 🙂
In my own cultural journey, these points are just some of the reasons I allow myself the title of upholding what it means to be a proud I-Kiribati woman…
Anywhere else in the world, it is a luxury to live by the sea. In Kiribati, it means that you are the first to be without a home.
I have written a children’s book. It is a Kiribati story, with Kiribati characters and told with a Kiribati heart. It is called Teaote & The Wall.
For thousands of years Pacific culture has lead to men believing that domestic violence is right and a man’s prerogative. This is absolutely wrong, but it doesn’t take a bill in parliament to change a society’s ways that they have held for thousands of years.
By learning more about ourselves, we learn more about the world. The more we learn about the world, the more our diverse communities grow to learn and respect each other.It is everyone’s responsibility to share what they know about their own community.
I walked back to the house with two cousins running ahead and a baby cousin on my hip. I was wearing a traditional Kiribati top (tiibuta) and a sarong. I was barefoot and despite my lighter skin, I could have been any other I-Kiribati woman. A baby on my hip, yelling at my younger cousins to stop fighting and going back to my house where my family waited.