|Kiribati is the easternmost country in the world, and was the first country to enter into the year 2000.|
The people of Kiribati (I-Kiribati) are thirsty. Literally. The water drawn from the wells has become almost undrinkable due to salination. The ladies say: “water cannot drink, too salty”. They would have to go digging elsewhere or share with neighbours or look for unguarded water sources. The I-Kiribati live mainly on coconuts and breadfruit. Three years of drought has caused some of the coconut trees to dry up, while high waves have damaged some of the trees closer to the water. Of course, I-Kiribati survive on fish too but fishermen are now suffering from the impact on global oil prices. They say: “price gone up, now we don’t go so far, we catch smaller fish.”
|What does the future hold for young people in Kiribati?|
But there is a small light at the end of the tunnel . Healthy and fit I-Kiribati could try to apply as a seasonal worker picking fruits in Australia and New Zealand. The scheme in New Zealand is about one and a half years old while Australia launched their scheme in August this year. From other country experience, a worker could potentially save between $3,000-$7,000 from 5-7 months work, if they work enough hours and spend money wisely. The savings could then be used for basic living expenses, education of family members, debt repayment if relevant, or funding business ventures. If the worker did a good job and impressed the employer, he/she could be requested to return to work in the next harvest season. Over time, the worker could learn skills while overseas which could be useful on the job or back in Kiribati.
In the longer term, where can the people of Kiribati go if and when they lose their land due to the effects of global warming? If Kiribati’s Revenue Equalization Reserve Fund  was equally distributed amongst I-Kiribati, they would each have $6,000 in nominal terms today. What could that buy them? A future?