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Dreams of Home
by Paulo Vanualailai
Banaban/Fijian studying abroad in Japan - 12 Dec 2002
(These words written by a Banaban about his yearning to see his island, while living so far away in a foreign land were received in an email. Paulo’s touching words reflect the thoughts of many of the Banabans who are living aboard, away from their ancestral homeland Banaba and their new birthplace of Rabi. Thank you Paulo for letting us share your thoughts with others. K.S. & S.K.)
We are looking forward to go to Nukubalavu (Nukubarabu) where our (Bakoa) family members have been allocated as their piece of land. This is one of the most beautiful piece of land in Rabi, the name itself is explanatory, that is, long beach. (Nuku is beach, balavu is long in Fiji). It is located in a cove-like setting, sort of a small harbour, which is surrounded and protected by a steep mountainous volcanic rocks, that overlooks a small but yet heavily forested flatland with a natural made pools carved from solid igneous rock thousands of years ago located in the middle of the flatland. The first pool is so deep and crystal blue that we can actually dive into, while the other one, located downstream is shallow and just fitting for young children.
There is a small stream west of the beach that is littered with delicious king crabs coming out at night during the full moons in their thousands, turning the white beach black, to empty their eggs at the rush of the ocean tides, then swiftly crawling back to their safe haven in the mangroves nearby. The mangroves, nearby are nurturing places for many sea creatures, including the rays, turtles, and etc. During low tides, the whole tidal area are dry, with different pools of fish variety located here and there. At night we usually use torch made from coconut trees to fish. Further offshore, the barrier reef harbours complex and vibrant communities of breathtaking corals, yet to be discovered.
From Nukubalavu, it takes about 2-3hours by boat to travel to one of the most rarest sight in Fiji, a sand dune located in the middle of a great barrier reef, here you can find so many different types of bird varieties, from freshly hatched young chicks to featherless old birds. The surprising aspect of the island, is the amount of dead fish, some are just freshly catch and those that have decayed brought to land by thousands of birds who fishes everyday. Yes a bird community, living sustainably for thousands of years in a forgotten piece of sand island in the middle of nowhere.
Yes there are so many things to see, and this will be one natural attraction that I am going to expose to my Japanese friends when we come over in April 2002.
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