Monday, 28 September 2009


Wow - it's taken me so long to catch up with myself. Jamaica was happening several weeks ago and a timely postal strike has left me adrift waiting on an Amazon delivery before I can start on a new country. So we're up to speed again and I'm no longer blogging retrospectively.

The next country I've chosen to learn about is Kiribati! Like most of you out there, I know precious little about this tiny Pacific nation. The first thing I've learned is that it's not pronounced Kiribati, but Kiri-bass, a local rendition of the country's colonial name of Gilberts.

The language of Kiribati is still called Gilbertese and Kiribati used to be part of the British colony Gilbert and Ellice islands, the Ellice islands bit being modern day Tuvalu.

Scanning through a brainful of memories, the only thing Gilbert and Ellice islands brings up is stamp-collecting. I was a big stamp collector as a child and dutifully kept little scrap books with a page for each country. I'm pretty sure Gilbert and Ellice Islands was one of those pages. I know what you're thinking, stamp collecting is for nerds. Well, I guess if blogging is the grown-up, 21st century if stamp collecting, then so be it!

Finding materials related to Kiribati hasn't been easy. I've had to resort to reading a book written by an 'outsider' The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J Maarten Troost. I've just started reading it and it's dead funny. I can totally relate to his desire to head off to some unknown part of the world and had a very similar incident when, after accepting a job in Uzbekistan, my first question to the interviewer was 'Where is it?'

Back to Kiribati, the thing that has struck me most since I started researching this country is the urgency and seriousness of the impact of Climate Change on this tiny nation. Like neighbouring Tuvalu the I-Kiribati people are facing the prospect of losing their country to the ocean. Unfortunately, it would seem as though it's already too late. I'm leaving you with this poignant appeal I came across on YouTube.

Whilst bigger nations are refusing to agree to the terms of the Kyoto protocol and make real commitments to reduce carbon emissions, smaller nations like Kiribati are struggling to remain in existence.

Image credits

The flag is from
The beautiful image of Kiribati is by flickruser Luigig who is from Rome in Italy.

The image of the stamp is copyright free from Wikimedia Commons.
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