Pictures of life in Kiribati

Marakei Island - Located approximately on the equator and the international dateline.

17 Miles around

2,100 People in 7 Villages

Highest Point: 15 feet above sea level

Marakei Island

A different perspective.

Typical family home or compound where the extended family live together.

The Fresh water in Kiribati primarily comes from very shallow wells which are open to the elements and therefore susceptible to a great deal of contamination.   

These buckets often are left on the ground between use while chickens, dogs and pigs roam about freely.

One solution to cleaning up the fresh water is by capping the wells and using the Tamana Pump. These pumps are cheap, easy to install and easy to maintain.  However they cannot filter out salt water from rising ocean levels, which is the biggest issue now facing Kiribati.

With rising ocean levels it is more an more common for large waves to wash over parts of the islands and contaminate the shallow wells with undrinkable sea water.

Rain water collection tanks are another way to collect fresh drinking water.  However to collect the water there needs to be a tin roof. Most structures in Kiribati use local materials such as coconut fronds or pandanas leaves for their roofs and there fore can not collect fresh water

Kindergartners preparing to celebrate Kiribati Independence Day.

July 12 - 1978 from Great Britain

Letter from John Kerry honoring Kiribati independence

Cultivating Babai

A tuber with the constancy of a very large rutabaga.

One of the more important foods of the I-Kiribati people.

A well tended Babai pit

Babai are dependent on the fresh water that floats on the fresh water lens.

Collecting Babai,  The big ones are saved for feasts and celebrations.

Sailing an outrigger canoe out to go tuna fishing.

Sea turtle being prepared to celebrate a first birthday - the only birthday that is celebrated.

Climbing a coconut tree to collect fresh toddy - a sweet sap from the tree that is collected each morning in hollow coconut shells.  It is used for everything from sweet nectar for babies to making a strong alcoholic palm wine called Kuakioki.

High school age students in school studying English.

Students on a field trip.  They are on the only truck on the island.

Preparing palm fronds to be woven into roof thatch for the local Maniaba

Weaving flowers for floral headbands to be worn for a celebration in the Maniaba - or just for fun.


The Local gathering house

Considered sacred and is the home of the ancestors spirits

Dancing in the Maniaba.

This is my friend Amon

A sitting dance.  The arms are symbolic of the frigit bird, the national bird of Kiribati and it appears on the flag.

Chris Brown performing a local sitting dance.

Singing and celebrating in the Maniaba.

Girls grooming and primping.

Saying goodbye to my best friend Manibobwai's daughter.