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The lady returned to her island village home last year to deal with family obligations after the death of her seventy-eight year old father; complications related to his asthma.

Earnings from the city job enabled her to buy a sewing machine with which she makes and repairs clothing.

The coral reefs around her island home have been decimated over the years by dynamite and toxins used for harvesting fish and, from the affects of tsunamis. Historically reef fish have provided an essential food source for the village. Plentiful during her grandfather’s time, the fish population went into decline around the time of her father’s generation.

With fewer fish the village of four hundred have become more reliant on garden-grown food and, consequently, have less protein in their diet. Their island is a volcanic atoll with limited soil for planting.

Rising sea levels continue to devour the limited land and government officials have confirmed the villagers, along with several other Vanuatu island populations, will be forced to move at some point in the future.

Once her family duties have been completed she’ll return to her work in the city. She plans to buy another sewing machine, one with additional stitching options, and expand her tailoring business.

The lemonade she served was made with rainwater, raw sugar and lemons from her garden on the volcano’s slope. The company was as warm as the breeze that rolled in from the killer Pacific.

Uri Island, Malukula, Vanuatu
August 2011

Written by glh

December 8, 2011 at 20:18

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