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OPINION: Pacific Islands Forum- ‘A lot of us don’t want to leave Tuvalu’

Thursday August 15, 2019 Written by Published in Opinion
Two small Tuvaluan girls wait outside church in Funafuti. 19081214 Two small Tuvaluan girls wait outside church in Funafuti. 19081214

Peoples from all around the Pacific have been able to engage each other with language and culture and exchange a rich sense of community at the Pacific Islands Forum.

In Tuvalu, many who have come here have found relatives and people from their same tribe back home.

They have swapped traditional garbs and jewellery as souvenirs and told stories of their faraway homes.

The connections we have made and the cultures and ideas we have shared is the magic behind the Pacific Islands Forum.

The sense of respect among Pacific Islanders is unwavering and although the political decisions and positions of our leaders should drive us apart, it only strengthens the conversations we have.

I’ve bonded with people who have come from countries with similar problems to my own and who have real concerns for their environments and health.

It’s going to be a sad day when we all have to return to our respective homes but we have promised to stay in touch and keep sharing our stories.

I’ve made friends with so many of the locals in Tuvalu who have shown me the strength of putting aside our differences and uniting.

It will be hard to forget the experience of seeing a community thriving despite their limited resources.

In Rarotonga, we are so lucky that we have access to quality education and health, we live so freely without worry that a natural disaster would destroy the small land we have left.

A lot of us don’t want to leave Tuvalu just yet because we have discovered a new gem of the Pacific that stands for more than the beauty of sandy beaches and palm trees.

It stands for the future and a world that’s not corrupted by those who seek to exploit it.