September 18, 2010

'Uiha Island Community Greenhouse Project VOTE FOR US!

Vote now for our project to receive a $1000 greengrant from our environmental mentor organization
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Thank you!  Read below for more on our project:

Our project has submitted its first funding proposal to build a Community Greenhouse on the Nursery lot.  The Nursery is currently unused, but was originally built several years ago with external donor funds (SPREP, UNDP) as part of the Ha'apai Area Conservation & Biodiversity Project.  That Project seemed to work well, given that it was a longer-term project, but as usual, once the funding stopped, community initiative did too.  We hope to re-start community interest in planting rare & endangered plants and trees by building a structure to house seedlings.  There's only one way to find out if our village will respond to the call to preserve our cultural and ecological heritage.

"It is imperative that something is done now to retain the richness of Tongan arboreal diversity or it will be irretrievably lost. The conservation, restoration and sustainable use of arboreal biodiversity constitute a necessary first step. Without trees there would be poverty, environmental degradation, loss of coastlines and small islands, sedimentation and pollution of small streams, wells, coastal waters, lagoons and coral reefs, and lost of the products and services provided by forests.  There would also be a rapid deterioration of the rich Tongan culture that has evolved in close association with trees and the island environment over many centuries.  Without trees, there would be no tapa cloth, no pandanus or coconut mats, no pigs, no chiefly garlands.  Literally there would be no traditional wealth or exchange items. Almost every tree has a use or provides ecological services to the islands and local communities." (Thaman, Randy. "Arboreal Biodiversity as a Foundation for Sustainable Development in Tonga", in Polynesian Paradox, ed. by Coxon & Campbell, USP: 2005)

September 2, 2010

Fish Galore

The other week an amazing thing happened.  The seas opened up and poured out fish.  Someone spotted schools of fish, and returned to spread the word.  Every fishing boat in the village went out and set up the nets, trapping schools of fish (mackerel?).  We watched each boat pull up to the wharf and pass buckets and buckets of fish.

Everyone grabbed their flour sacks and filled up.  Salt was sold out of the stores as everyone was preserving their catch.  We stored ours at a cousin's who had a freezer.  We ate fish for a week, and our dogs were very happy because (animal lovers don't flinch) they only get our scraps...this week we had plenty of fish heads to feed them.