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I took my son out of school while we were travelling, and took the responsibilty for his education myself. The school gave me a great fridom to choose subjects. Even though world war two is not on the plan for norwegian sixth graders, I chose it as a subject, since we were on this island where there were several big battles between the japanese and the americans. Our hostess Ioanna invited two different storytellers, one of them is the gentleman on the tea party picture of my Kiribati intropage.
The lady to the left on this picture, is Vinipauel, half british, who spoke with a VERY british accent. I guess her british name is Winnie Powell, but the ikiribas don't use sirnames ;-) Winnie is a superb storyteller and very proud of her Kiribati heritage! She was twelve when the battles started, appr. the same age as my son was at the time of our visit. It was very interesting to hear how she experienced the war as a child.
Winnie also told us she had visited her english family once. Her cousins had urged her to stay and even gotten her a job. But she refused with the reason that life in Europe is hard: "You depend upon money." She is the one who uttered the words I have cited on my Kiribati intro page: "With the right skills (and if you are not lazy) you can live without money."
I don't know if storytelling is a tradition on Kiribati, I specifically asked for it, but I strongly advise everybody to listen to a storyteller! What I do know, is that the ikiribati have a strong respect for the wisdom of the elders.
Written Aug 8, 2005
Address: Butaritari, and probably everywhere in Kiribati
People in Kiribati are proud of their lifstyle. They are not slaves of work nor television, they have time to relax and for good conversations. Food and building materials is easy to find / collect / catch. This is life, philosophing in a hammock in the shadow!
The influence of "western culture" is slowly distroying the lifestyle, and rising sea levels caused by global heating is a threat to this heaven on earth. Shame on us, the "civilized" people of the modern world, for imposing this on them!
Updated Aug 7, 2005