Journey to the Sinking Lands

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

Archive for August, 2009

Talcum? powder

Another letter, and a second shell money, arrives from Buka, with this instruction on the first page:

“Please don’t read the letter or not first do put this powder inside onto your face.

then you can read.

Just a sign of happiness to you.”


dan with powder

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A distinct and unusual honour

I’ve just got back from the BBC studios in Birmingham, where I was recording a last few bits of speech for Simon to edit in to the recordings in PNG to hold the programme together. I like working with Simon, he has the happy habit of telling you that everything you do is wonderful, so you end up walking home feeling ten foot tall (he’s also very good at his job as these programmes, evidence of which can be heard here).

But in among the mutual backslapping he said something that really stuck in my mind – he was dead pleased with the recordings I made in PNG, so pleased in fact that he plans on sending them all to the BBC Sound Effects library where they will be preserved – and available to access – ¬†for the future. It’s a great testament to the moment in time that I was fortunate enough to record, and to the people I met. I feel very pleased.

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Broadcast date

Simon Elmes, the steadying hand from the BBC who is producing the Journey of a Lifetime programme has just reminded me that the broadcast date has been brought forward by a week.

The show will now be going to air on September 4th, at 11am in the morning. At the moment I have no idea how it is going to sound, and I’m very, very keen to find out.

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Reader, I opened it…

envelope 002… the shell money is beautiful.

The parcel also contained a letter:

Dear Dan,

A tsi soasa (good day) thanks alot for the address which will help me much to send your things quickly.
How are you friend, is your memories still of the Carterets Island?

Your shell money was given by the group 4 Comm this groups starts at the schools and finishes at the boys house and community government office.

Dan, its a gift and a word of appreciation to you, with you, gladness and happiness, for you being one of us eg: eating our special food like coconuts, yevo (the one that looks like a snake but is not a snake) etc.
Thankyou for respecting our Culture and Customs. Your staying at Carterets Island is appreciated so much. With this shell money it shows how much we treasure you in our hearts and in our memories.

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