My Heart for Tuvalu…

 

In the last post, I mentioned that Tuvalu was on my dream places to visit list; but I never mentioned why. Sure, the beautiful beaches and the luxurious climate are top notch reasons to visit-but it is not mine. I want to visit Tuvalu before it disappears into the Pacific….

Tuvaluans may become the first Climatic Refugees of our known time. As a low lying nation Tuvalu is especially susceptible to changes in sea level and storm patterns that hit the island. Some scientists predict that islands like Tuvalu will be totally submerged under water in the next 50 years.

Can you imagine such a thing?

Imagine that your entire country could soon be gone. What about your children and their children? Where will they go? Will they know or even remember where they came from? Will the knowledge of your entire race be wiped out with the land? What if the scientists are wrong, and we don’t have 50 years; we only have 5? Where will I go? Does anybody care? Will anybody care?

These are scary thoughts.

This is where the Butterfly Bridge does it’s “thing”, 🙂 The plight of a climatic refugee is not #1 on the Women’s Rights and/or Plights list. Not because it isn’t important, but because it is not a common thing.

When I think of the Butterfly Bridge, I think of a real bridge. The support system and the foundation of the Butterfly Bridge represent the main and/or common issues that plague women all over the world. These issues we can readily recognize as a issue that involves women.

But you can’t have a complete bridge without a walk way. The walk way of this Butterfly Bridge is composed of “planks”. Each plank represents a specific issue that affects even the smallest fraction of us. As we continue to build this connecting bridge, planks will be added along the way signifying those issues that are not common among us, but affect some part of the female population.

In order to be complete, we must be whole. That means that not even a fraction of us can be left out. If we work together, and consider all, we will have a greater result. As mothers and caretakers of their communities, the total loss of their country has to weigh heavy on the hearts and minds of Tuvaluan woman. This, butterflies, we all can relate to.

Having said all of the above, we must acknowledge that Global Warming and Environmental Awareness are serious problems that women of the world face. Women in African, Asia, South America and Tuvalu all suffer from environmental issues that plague them, their families, and their communities. In many countries, water is scarce and/or unsafe to drink, causing sickness and disease among the people; especially children. And, in island places like Tuvalu, the threat of the total destruction of a country is at stake.

Some people have fled Tuvalu due to the climatic situation. But there are many more that cannot. Tuvalu is one of the poorest nations in the world; so leaving isn’t possible for many.

So what can we do for the women of Tuvalu as it pertains to the potential loss of their country?  There have been propositions for a “artificial” Tuvalu. And various governments have agreed to aid the people in the event of total disaster.

In the meantime, we can help to by:

1.) Increasing environmental awareness. When issues that affect women come to the table, we need to make sure that this issue is among them. Additionally, we need to be fully active and educated on environmental issues. Tuvalu may be the first, but it will not be the last to see climatic decay if we all don’t participate.

2.) Become repositories of Tuvalu. A repository is simply a storage receptacles. Each one of us can become storage receptacles of Tuvalu by learning about the culture, traditions, languages and music of the people. We can then pass some of these along in our own family traditions. Foods and recipes, for example, are a great way to pass along a culture. Here is a recipe for some Tuvaluan Marmalade, that can be used on toast or pork! (Ooooh! Easter ham with Tuvalu Marmalade:) )

Papaya-Pineapple Marmalade

 (Recipe adapted from The Pacific Islands Cookbook) by Sarah Commerford  (use the link to see all of Sarah’s around the world recipes!)

2 cups finely diced ripe pineapple (2 lbs.)
2 cups diced ripe papaya
4 cups sugar
1-1 / 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind  or lemon zest (½ lemon or more if you like it tart)
1 /4 cup lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger, if desired

Mix pineapple and sugar in large shallow saucepan and let stand while preparing the papaya.
Add papaya.
Add grated lemon rind and juice.
Bring slowly to boiling point and boil about 30 minutes until mixture sheets from spoon, or until temperature reaches 224º degrees Farenheit on a candy thermometer.
Pour into sterilized half-pint jars and seal.This marmalade does not keep longer than 6 months

You can find more recipes online or in a Pacific Island Cookbook like Sarah did!

 

 

That’s it! Just these two simple things can not only show support to our Tuvaluan sisters, but also help us to preserve an entire nation!

Until next time!

Steen

 

 

 

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