Taking the gospel to the outer islands !
THE PROJECT GOES ON.
This project really started in Butaritari in 2004. However, in a systematic form it is now entering its third year. So far, apart from the first visit, the funding has been from OAA via three Special Grants. With each visit costing approx. AU$ 500, each Grant of $2000 covers approx. four visits. After Butaritari, we have done other islands in the Gilbert group including Maiana, Abemama, Abaiang, and Makin.
THE NEW BLITZKRIEG !
Last Sunday, Jan. 7th., the plans were made for a blitz of as many of the other islands as we could as soon as we could ! Since three of us are full-time teachers, starting Term 1 on Feb. 5th., it seemed a good idea to try to get some visits fitted in before then. But with printers on holiday, producing enough copies of the OBAS book proved quite difficult. Also, at this "beginning of term" time of the year, flights on the small inter-island Air Kiribati plane are mostly full ! However, some books remained from the last print run in 2006 and, slowly, we are getting more printed this week. We had hoped to give 20 to each Lecturer, but for Karakoa (leaving for Aranuka this afternoon) we could only manage ten ! The current order is for 100 copies of the original 2002 book, later slightly amended by the writers, which has been significantly amended by KAA. For your information (if you live in Oceania), one ream of A3 paper (plus some card for the covers) will produce 20 books, when printed double-sided. Our latest contract is costing us AU$ 5.74 for each book, including the paper (AU$ 69 for 5 reams) and all the printing / collating / etc.
AND THE CERTIFICATES !
Since we have tried to award / distribute named certificates to all attendees who satisfactorily complete the workshop, trying to print enough this week was another hurdle to be cleared ! Buying the card was easy, but getting a receipt was harder ! Then, if we did not have a dysfunctional printer, it would have been easy ! But without a working printer I was sweating up to this morning ! I managed to get the photo-copier at Office Supplies (KOES) to stutter through printing just 14 certificates. This had to be enough for Karakoa (who collected his 10 books yesterday). I found him still at home - lucky, because his check-in had been postponed ! Our normal printer, who was on holiday until this morning, then saved the day. I left 80 blanks and a Master copy. One hour later, I had 80 printed certificates ! Too late for Karakoa, but good news for the others.
These are what we plan to do. Today Karakoa goes to Aranuka. Tomorrow Tekooki flies to (his home island) Onotoa. On Wednesday, Riani is off to Nonouti (postponed from 2006). Then on Friday I go to Marakei, also one from last year's plan. The other three targets for this year are Beru, Tab. North, and North Tarawa. All of these are in the Gilbert group. If we complete these, we will have done 12 of the outer islands. There are still others, e.g. Kuria, Tamana, Arorae, Nikunau, and Tab. South. These will be future targets and as important as the rest. Some priority has been given to the islands who sent athletes to participate in the 2006 Inter-Island Runga and then asked us to visit.
THE TARAWA SITUATION.
Here on the capital island, with three JSS (Junior Secondary) and nine High Schools, there lives nearly half the national population, i.e. approx. 40,000 people. Previous courses have been (up to 2004) Tarawa-based and so we have a reasonable network of coaches and officials here. Until the task is complete, we will keep working at "spreading the gospel" ! Our intention is to try to have a qualified, knowledgeable group on each island. Also, to have every island represented in the Runga in 2008.
THE FAR EAST !
Two hours ahead of us (and a day ahead of Honolulu on the same meridian !) are the Line Islands. A significant chunk of the population lives there, maybe 12000. There are JSS on each of the three main islands, Kiritimati (Christmas), Washington, and Fanning. Also there are three High Schools. Certainly on Christmas there are coaches, and they have constructed 400m. tracks on two of the islands. We do not get regular news of their activities but SOME Athletics is definitely happening in the far east of Kiribati !
As stated earlier, Karakoa left as intended on Monday, Jan. 15th. with 10 books and 14 certificates. Tekooki, who was in fact onloy wait-listed for his 11.15 a.m. take-off, made sure he was at the airport early ! So he left with only 5 books (given to him last night) and 20 certificates. The printer, unable to complete the first tranche yesterday, due to a power failure at their offices, had gone in early and managed to produce 20 by 0930 ! Unfortunately this was too late to catch Tekooki, without rushing over 40 speed-bumps to try to get him at the airport ! Of the high-quality latest print run, 10 were given to Riani this morning, plus 20 certificates. These should be in Nonouti by Wednesday night !
I wonder how many more books can be produced this week, by Thursday night ? Then I might be able to take 20 books and 20 certificates to Marakei on Friday !
The answer to the last question (above) was "ZERO", and two weeks later (02/02) it is still "ZERO" !! I will probably have to take the rest of the order off those printers (who did a good job on one-fifth of the order !), and ask someone else to do the other eighty copies on the remaining paper (which I will reclaim !)
So I ended up taking only 10 books (and 20 certificates) to Marakei. But that's another story - you will see when I get some camera batteries !
As for the others, their brief up-date is that in each case, without a good advance contact, it took two days to organise a group, venue, etc. Then they each successfully conducted their courses. Karakoa awarded 7 certificates, Tekooki 10, and Riani has yet to report fully. They also managed to return safely ! Karakoa was charged $45 (for three nights at the "HOTEL") when in fact he stayed with relatives ! Apparently there is some local protocol that visitors to Aranuka for such "workshops" are expected to stay in the Government residence !
Hopefully we will see the benefit in 2008 with more and bigger teams coming to the Inter-Island Championships !
THE MARAKEI STORY.
Please check back later, under this heading !