Maureen Goodwin is known to many in the Cook Islands, having worked since 1996 in various educational capacities in classrooms and the Ministry of Education.
At present she is employed for one year as Literacy Advisor to the Nauru Department of Education.
She says that Nauru, the smallest nation in the world, although still a major producer of phosphate which is shipped to Australia, shows little evidence now that they were once a very wealthy place.
She noticed that their airport terminal from one angle looks just like the National Auditorium at home. It turns out that our Auditorium was built with money loaned from Nauru.
Nauru’s school leaving age is 18-years.
Getting a driver’s licence is the same as the Cook Islands, 16 years, but most students either walk or catch the bus to school.
The transportation and safety of children to and from school is paramount on Nauru.
When the bus pulls up to pick up or drop off students a conductor gets off the bus, stops all the traffic and safely directs the children across the road.
The conductor also often holds up a stop sign.
Consideration of the environment is important with measures put in place to rehabilitate mined areas, keep the roadsides and community areas tidy, and plant trees.
Following is a brief report from Goodwin of Nauru’s environment day activities.
”At Nauru College, a Year 7 to 9 school, we took a two part approach to the day.
The Rehabilitation Department delivered trees to all schools on the island (the country) for students to plant around the school, and especially the beach front to provide future foreshore protection.
Part 2 saw students and teachers donning plastic gloves, grabbing plastic bags, and picking up all the rubbish we could find around the school.
It was also a sociable time, as we were able to chat amongst ourselves, and talk about what we picked up.
As always, and like everywhere else in the world, it was people rubbish, dropped on the ground instead of being put in the right place.
Afterwards we gathered in the Gazebo, put the rubbish in the middle, reminded ourselves about doing the right thing, and then sang with great gusto and harmony.
As at home in the Cook Islands, Nauru is very aware of environmental issues, climate change, and the need for caring for our environment.
In the words Don’t Be Idle, from an old Te Uki Ou song, Nauru like the Cook Islands is taking charge and effecting change, for the betterment of this small island nation, and truly ensuring that Nauru really is Pleasant Island (Nauru’s other name).
Tubwa (thankyou) and Tarowang (goodbye) from Nauru.