Journey to the Sinking Lands

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

Letter from Papua New Guinea

envelopeI’ve just received this letter from a friend, Ruth Marcella, on the islands:



a soasa, I hope you are doing well, how are you, Is your good memories still of the Carterets Islands?

I want to talk to you about the shell money. Dan, it is a special gift to you by the group 4 Community. You know you have respected so much our livinng, Culture and Customs. The way we eat and everything, and you have also done what we were not expecting you to do because we know it’s impossible for white man to do, but you did it excellent.

This shell money is their word of their appreciation for what you have done. It is the joy, gladness and happiness that we count you as a member and citizen of Group 4 at Carterets Islands. They told me to tell you that you are the Outstanding of the other journalists that came to Carterets.

About the shell money, it is so important and we usually hide it we give it out when it is important for us to give it out. Every things in culture and customs fall back to it. It is used only and given only to special purposes, like bride price. Because of what you have done and going to do, this have given to you. This have shows how much we treasure you in our hearts and memories. You have won and capture our poor hearts. So you can have the shell money. for your wedding day dear.

Are you going to come back home to the island I am looking forward for your coming back. If you plan to come back come at Nov, December when the sea levels rise high. Em tasol na lukim yu bihain taim and see you times.


– Dan, can you do me a favour. I am asking if you could write me one document for my life at the island. I can tell you how and what why etc, I wanted to ask you while you were at Carterets but I was shy to say it, now I am confident. Starts when I was small till now. If you have an opportunity to do it, if not I am just asking. I was thinking for it for a long time. You can make it when you have no other things to do, but you are a busy man.

Are you planning to come back?


1 Comment»

  Harriet wrote @

That made me cry. That surely is the greatest and most important feedback you have had.

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