Journey to the Sinking Lands

A witness to the world's first evacuation of an entire people due to climate change


cricketToday is ANZAC Day, a big day if you’re from Australia or New Zealand, which means pretty much all the expat community in Buka (aid workers and police mostly). ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and the day itself commemorates those countries’ fighting troops who died in combat. In true Antipodean style, it is typically marked by a very sombre, reverential dawn service, after which everyone gets drunk. In Buka, Mark, a Kiwi here on a two-year stint working on reconciliation after the civil war, set up a cricket pitch in his garden; bamboo stumps, beer-can bails, a bat carved from an old packing case and tennis balls wrapped in tape, all overlooked by banana trees and coconut palms and overlooking the blue ocean. Mark takes his fun seriously and made sure the track conformed exactly in size to international regulations. For the past week he has been mowing it regularly, casting worried glances at every rain cloud and even putting down sand where the ground was wet. You could smell the fresh paint used to mark the crease. What started off as a sweaty (I was drenched within minutes) knock-about between expats became a whole heap more fun when about a dozen local kids drifted in. And amazingly good they were too, even if a strict interpretation of the rules would have said some of them were chucking. As her sole representative on these shores, I am sad to say that England came off fairly badly against the rest; no strict score was kept but I’d say we managed a poor fourth, behind Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. Inevitably, each time after being clean-bowled, someone shouted from the field, “Now, how about those Ashes?”


1 Comment»

  Wolfy wrote @

We were just pleased that the English showed up…:)

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