Saturday, September 1, 2012
The Challenge of Travel
If you’ve been reading my blog for long you already know I love to travel. In fact I crave it. So when Erin offered up the Challenge of Travel I signed up right away. The challenge was to pick a region we do not live in (Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania). Then we were to pick a nation from that region, or let Erin Choose for us. I chose the Oceania region, and since this was a challenge I let Erin choose the Nation, which is Kiribati.
The republic of Kiribati is an island group in Micronesia straddling the equator. Kiribati's 33 atolls and one raised coral island are scattered over an area of 3.5 million km, however their land mass comprises of only 810 sq. km. Kiribati has a population of roughly 90,000 people. While there are sandy beaches and warm water year round, Kiribati has almost no tourists. Getting there is not cheap or easy, but if by chance you find yourself there, you should be prepared to rough it.
The average high temperatures are quite reasonable compared to other well-known places in the tropics but the humidity more than makes up for this, making it feel very sauna-like. Industry includes fishing and handmade crafts. Exports include coconuts, seaweed, fish, and Copra which is dried coconut kernels from which oil is obtained. Agriculture includes Copra, taro, sweet potatoes and fish.
I chose to tell the story of Kiribati through the pieces I made; all earrings, because I can't seem to stop making them.
Nearly every article I read reported the Kiribati people to be very polite, laid back, warm and friendly, and very welcoming to tourists. They love to dance and host lavish celebrations with colorful costumes.
The earrings below represent the people of Kiribati, their personality and colorful costumes. I used polymer flower beads from Too Aquarious, tiny lampwork beads from Pebble Dreams, and Vintaj Brass.
'South Pacific Paradise'
These earrings represent their heritage, hard work, pride, and independence. I used lampwork beads from Flameart, Copper dangles from Missficklemedia, and Vintaj Brass.
Kiribati is home to the South Pacific's largest marine reserve. It is also one of the low-lying Pacific island states seen as highly vulnerable to rising sea levels and global warming, and frequently lends its voice to calls for action on climate change. In the last couple years there have been articles predicting the entire island chain sinking under water, and the prospect of finding land elsewhere or even settling in Australia.
These earrings represent both fresh and salt water; the very water they depend on for living and making an income may very well be the thing that destroys this beautiful nation. Made with tiny lampwork beads from Pebble Dreams, and sterling silver.
'Drops of Water'
Not everything is bright and colorful in Kiribati. Tarawa is the capital of Kiribati. South Tarawa is one of the most densely populated, severely poverty-stricken places in the world. Other islands have far fewer people, but getting to them can be difficult, and conditions are even more primitive. These earrings represent the darker side; poverty, overcrowding, lack of jobs, and wondering if or when they will have to leave the islands. The earrings are made with Czech nuggets, Swarovski pearls and crystals, and sterling silver.
A big thanks to Erin for hosting another fun challenge. Please visit Erin's blog for the list of the other participants.