For too long, Kiribati culture has upheld the dignity of men in favour for hiding the experiences of the women they abuse.
I have written about oceans, waves, contaminated well water, droughts, rising water temperature, low lying land, loss of culture, loss of land, loss of identity.
All of this I’ve written about and so I’m at a point in my writing career when my mind wanders to the big question: have I got anything left to give?
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.
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.
Kiribati is such a tiny country and if you don’t know about the country, then why would you care if it sinks or not? THIS is why people like David Katoatau are so important to Kiribati.
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.
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…
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.
People say they love hearing about my culture and all I am doing is talking about Kiribati food, language, religion etc. It may not seem it but I have worked hard at making sure I am connected to my culture.