Atoll Aid 2008
22 December 2008 | Equatorial Pacific
We have had a couple of concerned emails after the last post. I can categorically state that Hideko, Roq and I, as well as Swingin on a Star are fine and having a lovely holiday season. We live on a boat and anchor with plenty of chain out. Big waves don't bother us because we anchor in water too deep to break. It is also the case that most places in the South Pacific don't even know that there was a King Tide two weeks ago. We had to explain what happened to the staff of OxFam and UNICEF here. High islands, islands inside a barrier reef and large population centers were not typically affected.
The people who were affected live on atolls in the equatorial pacific, where the low lying islands that are their homes are the only land. Unfortunately these folks are in poor contact with the developed world and get very few, if any, supply ships throughout the year. Yacht visits are rare but often more frequent than any other type of visitor.
The yacht Whistler with Eric and Jenique on board, ourselves and the yacht Queen Jane have decided to try to help the people on the atolls we pass heading to Pohnpei. In particular Kapingamaringi and Nukuoro. Jordan, the skipper of Queen Jane is actually in California but knows these atolls well and alerted us to the problems. With logistical support from Jordan and all three of us pitching in we hope to make a little difference during the holidays.
After consulting with the few informed individuals we could dig up ashore, we decided on an aid package we could afford and carry including:
1 x 60 Gallon Bin with Lid (for fresh water storage and collection)
5 x 20 Kilo Rice Sack
10 x 1 Kilo Bag Sugar
10 x 1 Kilo Sack of Flour
2 x Tarpaulins (temporary roofing or water collection)
10 x 500 mg Can of Powdered Milk
30 x Square yards of fabric (for clothes and other needs)
1 x Soccer Ball
There is no real way for us to communicate with the people on the atolls and it is not very easy to communicate with Pohnpei itself. We could arrive at the atolls and find them in perfect health, happy as clams, and recently resupplied by the aid vessel that was dispatched to northern Pohnpei State earlier in the month. Unfortunately our best information is what you find in the article linked above, not sounding too fun for the holidays.
It is easy to lose sight of how lucky most of us are...