East, Dan, east. The Carteret Islands are in the east of Papua New Guinea. Not, as you said three times in the course of the programme, the west. Idiot boy.
That apart, I really enjoyed listening to the programme (which can be downloaded here), maybe more than anyone else who did. I could remember every moment; the heat, the music, the taste of the fish eyes…
Simon Elmes at the BBC did a great job stitching it all together and I’m really proud to have worked with him on it. The programme has also been made the Radio 4 ‘podcast of the week’. My Aunty Sue says they should give me a badge.
Latest news: This just in from the Carteret Islands…
Coincidentally, my friend Ruth Marcella from the islands called me this morning from Buka, where she is working on a Bible-translation project. She had no idea about the broadcast, nor opportunity to hear it. But she did bring me up to date with the latest news:
The initial evacuation (of five men, who were the fathers of five families) to the mainland has hit understandable troubles: Of the five who formed the first wave of migrants leaving the islands to build new homes on the mainland, three have returned to the islands. Apparently, they were finding it too hard living in a new place and being apart from their families. Three men have been chosen to replace them and are expected to make the journey soon. The gardens that have been planted by the original five men, however, have begun to bear fruit and veg and with this food available, the remaining two men can send for their families to join them.
Better news is that the Bougainville government seems to have secured an agreement with the tribal owners of a large area of the mainland, on which the government plans to establish a resettlement area for the entire atolls’ population. This is very hopeful, although progress is very slow and there is a chance the agreement may yet fall through.
A number of the islanders will be travelling to Copenhagen for the climate change talks in December. Good. I do not know who is organising this, though imagine it is an Aussie NGO. Ursuala Rakova will be one of the group and I hope to have a chance to catch up with her, though am not as yet sure how (any ideas gratefully received).