LAST week while checking out some blogs, I came across one by a group from Banaba. They requested sponsors from people to support Banaban kids in school.
Last week, I emailed the contact given and the person just replied saying she will get in touch with me to help sponsor a kid(s) in a Banaba school. (Here is a Banaban blog.)
That is what PLS has always had in mind and will take that bold step starting next year – that is, reaching out to support learning children not only in PNG, but also in the Pacific.
Now let me tell you where Banaba is.
Banaba is a small island on the far western side of the main islands of Kiribati – where the capital Tarawa is.
It is the closest island to Nauru, which is about 600km to the west.
Both Nauru and Banaba are phosphate-rich and the ore was mined on the islands as early as 1906 (I am writing all this from memory since I was told all these when I was in Nauru).
The people from Banaba were later relocated to Rabi (pronounced Rambi) in Fiji.
Today, most Banabans live on Rabi. Yes, they are Kiribatis, but they have lived for more than a hundred years away in another country. (People say Banabans are more Melanesians than Micronesians.)
When I was in Nauru, the Nauruan students told me that Australia also wanted to relocate them from their island but their chiefs told the Australians: “We do not want to be relocated. Whatever land is left, we can live on that.” And therefore, today they still remain on their island, which has most of the inner part all scraped out in the effort to get at the phosphate.
For your information, some of our PLS friends are Nauruan students.
Again, PLS is taking the step to reach out to help Banaban kids with some resources starting next year.