Journey to the Sinking Lands

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

Me go long haus belong me?

I think it is time for me to leave the islands. Not because I don’t like it here, I do. The people could not be nicer and the place is beautiful (although I have to admit the romance of washing in the sea every morning does wear out when you realise everybody also uses the sea to go to the toilet. The fish deal with most of it in no time, but it does help to get up-current of your neighbours).

There are two reasons behind the decision. Firstly, the food I brought with me has run out, which means I am eating their food now and that is limited. No one knows when the regional government will send out the next ship carrying emergency rations and until they do, people here have to rely on what little they still have. Though we do eat a lot of very fresh fish. And coconuts.

Secondly, I am very aware that the sole reason for me being here is that these people are in a tough place, with an uncertain future. Just by being here, I am a daily reminder of that, and that makes me uncomfortable. I think you would have to be either selfish or naive to say you simply enjoyed your visit to the Islands. Yes, it does look like paradise, but behind that, the reality is pretty sad. Some people here desperately want to leave, but can’t. Others are quietly resigned to their fate. Others resent it. None of them have any choice. I wouldn’t like to say how soon life here will become impossible, but having seen the damage caused by the high storms over last Christmas, I don’t believe it will be long.

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