|Posted by Val Fox on April 12, 2014 at 8:20 PM|
Kiribati is an island nation located in the Pacific Ocean, straddling the equator and bordering the international date line. Its closest neighbours are Japan, Australia and New Nealand. While the 33-island nation could be a tropical paradice for some, scientists believe it will be the first country to succumb to the effects of global warming.
Kiribati was originally colonized by the British but achieved independence from the UK in 1979. The country became a full member of the United Nations in 1999.
The islands are scattered over 3.5 million square kilometres (1,351,000 sq. mi); some of them were formerly used by the United States and Britain for nuclear weapons testing. Today, Kiribati is one of the poorest countries in the world. Most residents squeeze out a living from serving aboard ships or as fishermen.
The 103,000 residents of Kiribati are mostly of micronesian decent and are Christians; about 56 percent are Catholics, 34 percent protestant, and there are smaller groups of Latter Day Saints (Mormons,) Baha'i and Jehovas Witnesses. The village household is the most important social unit with family and extended family (Utu) sharing common ownership of land plots.
Their houses are open sided rectangles with thatched roofs and raised floors. The maneaba or meeting house serves as a community center where the oldest malesmeet to discuss matters and make decisions. The I-Kiribati (name for the people) are largely a classless society but new, younger leaders threaten village-based traditional elder authority. A president is democratically elected every four years.
Family life consists of monogamous marriages, some arranged. Direct eye contact is rare, especially with someone of a higher status such as an elder. Touching of the head is considered an extremely intimate touch and would be frowned upon. The women traditionally perform tasks related to home and child rearing; modest dress is important. Children are indulged until age four, then strict rules are enforced that discourage crying or other emotional outbursts.
In spite of the threat of rising waters to the land, the greatest threat to the people of Kiribati is disease. Many of the people drink heavily; there is Tuberculosis and frequent cases of food/water poisoning due to bacterial contamination. There is also a problem of overcrowding with many people moving into cities ill-equipped to handle the numbers. The government has begun encouraging the population to spread out onto less inhabited islands.
Their dances emphasize outstretched arms and sudden bird-like head movements. You will not see them smile during a dance as the movements were not just about entertainment; dances were a form of storytelling that displayed the beauty and skill of the dancer. The Kiribati continue the practice today.
Kiribati - The letter "K."
Another group of Earth's Inhabitants
Tags: Micronesia; cultural practices; Climate Change and rising oceans; world's poorest nations; arranged marriage; tropical countries; no employment opportunities; subsistance living; family rules;
Categories: Cultures and Communities