brad brace contemporary culture scrapbook

May 24, 2014

Teci, Fiji

Filed under: culture,fiji,geography,global islands — admin @ 4:40 am

The villages of Teci (pronounced “Tethee”) and Dalomo, with a combined population of about 210, are situated on the eastern shore of Yasawa Island in the northwestern corner of the Fijian archipelago. The village of Teci is about a fifteen-minute walk from Dalomo, a ninety-minute walk from Bukama, and a two-and-a-half-hour walk from Nabukaru. To travel to the city of Lautoka, on the main island of Viti Levu, most villagers use a cargo ship that takes between one and two days and makes the rounds on a monthly schedule. (This ship sank in 2010 and has not been replaced.) Although it is possible to take a five-hour ferry from a point in the central part of the Yasawan archipelago, the transportation to the ferry and the ferry ride itself cost considerably more than traveling on the cargo ship. Villagers also sometimes use small motorboats to cross the Bligh Waters to Lautoka, though this sometimes results in disasters and disappearances. In the dry, deforested grasslands of this slender, twenty-two-kilometer-long island, economic life is based primarily on a combination of root-crop horticulture (yams and sweet manioc), littoral gathering (shellfish, mollusks), and fishing. Men bear the responsibility for clearing gardens (slashing and burning if necessary) and planting. Both men and women collect firewood, harvest agricultural products, and weed the gardens. Adults of both sexes and children also engage in littoral gathering, although women do more of this than men or children. Fishing is done principally by men, especially young men, and mainly involves free-dive spear-fishing. Older men, women, and boys use hook and line. Men also use nets to catch both fish and turtles. Women bear the primary responsibility for food preparation, cooking, laundry, and cleaning. Three main sociopolitical institutions govern village life: the traditional chiefly system, the government-instituted role of the Turaga ni koro, and the Christian churches. The most important of these institutions is the traditional system based on kinship, clans, and hereditary chiefs. Teci and Dalomo have five main mataqalis (pronounced “matangalees”), or clans, that together form a single yavusa. A yavusa is the largest territorial unit in the traditional Fijian system. Fijian villages often correspond, one to one, with a yavusa, with one chief per yavusa. However, Teci and Dalomo are part of the same yavusa, and there is a single chief for both villages. The chief lives in Teci, the older of the two villages. Leadership in each of the mataqalis is assigned primarily by age, gender, and descent, although skill and political acumen can also play a role. The head of the chiefly clan is officially installed as chief by one of the other mataqalis. The chief, together with the heads of the various mataqalis, makes decisions and deals with problems. At the time of our experiments, Teci’s previous chief had only recently died, and his heir (his older brother’s son) was still relatively young, so he had not yet been formally installed; nevertheless, he was still referred to as Tui Teci (Chief of Teci). At the time of our study, these villages were governed by a council of elders. Now integrated, and operating in parallel with the traditional system, is the democratically elected Turaga ni koro (Gentleman/Head of the Village), who acts as the representative of the Fijian national government. Both Teci and Dalomo have their own Turaga ni koro. The Turaga ni koro’s responsibilities are varied and include such tasks as dealing with visitors and keeping the village well-maintained. Though not an official part of their duties, the Dalomo Turaga ni koro operated the village radio-phone, and the family of Teci’s Turaga ni koro operated a village store that sold basic foodstuffs.1 In most matters we observed, the Turaga ni koro worked in concert with the council of elders and the chief, and all were seen as a unit. Layered across these institutions, and supported by Teci and Dalomo, are three different Christian religious sects—the Methodist, Evangelical Assemblies of God, and Seventh-Day Adventist Churches, in five separate congregations. These churches make numerous contributions to the villages, from organizing feasts to running youth groups. Fairness Without Punishment 227 Connections with the larger Fijian economy and municipal services are limited. There are no towns, and the only road on the island at the time of our visits was a dirt path that was used by an exclusive private resort near Bukama (the only resort on Yasawa Island).2 There are few opportunities for wage labor. At the time of our experiments, the resort employed three people from Teci and Dalomo. There are three primary schools on the island, including one in Teci. For education beyond the eighth grade, which many have not pursued, students must go to live either on the island of Naviti, in the center of the Yasawa group, or to Viti Levu. At the time of this research, there were three ways in which village families typically had access to market goods. First, several families maintained small supplies of flour, kava, yeast, sugar, salt, and other basic items, which they sold to their neighbors. Second, people traveled on the cargo ship—which came to Teci once a month during this period—to sell crabs, coconuts, mats, and other products in Lautoka and resupply on items like cooking oil and kerosene. Third, the private resort maintained a small shop where basic necessities could be purchased. Villagers did not make frequent use of this shop, owing to its high prices. All residents of Teci and Dalomo over about age six speak both Teci (the local dialect) and Standard Fijian (developed from the Bauan dialect). The two dialects are mutually unintelligible. A few people also speak some English. Although English is officially taught in schools, only a few of the older schoolchildren had learned more than a few phrases. More extensive details on life in these Yasawan villages can be found in the supplemental materials of Henrich and Henrich (2010).

Tutashinde Mbili Shaka! (Together we can win!)

Greenhouse Gardening

Filed under: agriculture,antigua,caribbean,climate change,resource,weather — admin @ 4:37 am

Antigua is one of the most drought-prone countries in the Caribbean. So whenever it rains, the inhabitants generally regard the weather as “showers of blessing”.

But that is starting to change. Many farmers now see the rains as a curse and are now fighting an uphill battle to save their crops, vital for both the local and foreign markets.
“The yield and lifespan [of crops in a greenhouse] basically are three times as much as open-field production.” — Delrie Cole

“We are a drought-prone country,” Ruleta Camacho, senior environmental officer in the ministry of agriculture, stated. “The issue now is that due to the impact of climate change, we are having exacerbated drought and exacerbated rainfall events.”

Heavy rainfall can damage crops and high humidity brings with it an infestation of pests and diseases, increasing the consumption of pesticides.

“We are having large amounts of rain in very short times. There are a number of communities that are affected by flood conditions, communities where the livelihoods of the population could be affected,” Camacho added.

One such community is Jonas Road where Delrie Cole has been farming for the last three years. But since Cole introduced greenhouse technology to his farm, he is no longer at the mercy of the rains.

With the greenhouses he is also able to grow his vegetables – cilantro, parsley, basil, peppers, eggplant, lettuce, pumpkins and tomatoes – during periods of drought or deluge.

“The need for the greenhouses came about because of climate change and a lack of production in the summer season when you have more stressful conditions,” he said.

“Due to the changing climate we are having hotter summers and it’s a pretty difficult time when you have the plants being stressed and the fruits are falling from the trees.

“The greenhouse basically gives you that edge where you can better operate in terms of control, cutting down some of the humidity that you would have during the summer,” he explained.

Greenhouse farming, which is cultivation of plants inside a building with glass walls and roof under controlled conditions, has become necessary with climate change.

Temperature and humidity can be controlled, making it possible for farmers to grow crops year-round.

“The yield and lifespan basically are three times as much as open-field production,” said Cole, who has been a farmer for more than 30 years.

“We are doing crops which are running 12 months, so whereas you would have planted a field that is carrying us through 12 months, farmers in the open would have been planting three crops within that same length of time and their yield would be less.”

Farmers in Antigua stand to benefit from the Reducing the Risks to Human and Natural Assets Resulting from Climate Change (RRACC) project being implemented by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

“The ministry of agriculture has identified the threat of heavy rainfall on cash crops such as lettuce and tomatoes,” Susanna Scott, coordinator of the RRACC project, said.

“A lot of damage could result from intense rainfall, which is expected to increase with climate change and also in time of drought the impact of the dry weather on these crops is severe as well,” she said. “So what we are looking at doing is investing in greenhouses to provide a protective area for crop growing.”

Antigua’s main agricultural exports include cotton to Japan and fruits and vegetables to other Caribbean territories.

Hot peppers and vegetables are also exported to the United Kingdom and Canada. Other agriculture products are bananas, coconuts, cucumbers, mangoes, livestock and pineapples.

Agriculture is currently a rather insignificant part of the economy, making up just four percent of GDP. However, it appears that cultivation is on the rise, with approximately 300 acres of land planted with vegetables.

Antigua has also been campaigning to encourage more youth to get involved in agriculture and there is evidence of some success.

Oraine Halstead and Rhys Actie, who are both under the age of 25, are full-time farmers.

“As a boy growing up with my grandmother, she was involved in planting vegetables and I got a little knowledge of it and fell in love with it,” Actie, a national of St. Lucia who moved here at the age of nine years and is now 23, said.

Halstead, who has been a farmer for two and half years, said farming is a very fulfilling career.

“I love to be around plants, taking care of them. It’s a joy to see them grow to maturity and the food they produce,” he said.

In the wake of climate change, greenhouse farming is seen as the only way to protect crops and manage a better yield than in normal condition. Farming under controlled condition protects crops from wind, rain, sun and precipitation.

The advantages of vegetable production in tropical greenhouses include higher yield and quality; reduced risks for quality and yield; less susceptibility to disease and damage caused by heavy rainfall; extended harvest time; reduced water consumption; and better use of fertiliser and pesticides.

“People are more keen as to what they consume and where it’s coming from. We are doing vine ripening so the flavour is good. Consumers are knocking on our doors because of the quality and the taste of our tomatoes,” Cole said.


Filed under: military,resource,syria — admin @ 4:31 am

The United Nations, which is trying to help resolve the widespread shortage of water in the developing world, is faced with a growing new problem: the use of water as a weapon of war in ongoing conflicts.

The most recent examples are largely in the Middle East and Africa, including Iraq, Egypt, Israel (where supplies to the occupied territories have been shut off) and Botswana.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week expressed concern over reports that water supplies in the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo were deliberately cut off by armed groups for eight days, depriving at least 2.5 million people of access to safe water for drinking and sanitation.


At least 17 people were killed when a ship carrying migrants sank Monday about 100 miles off southern Italy, the Italian navy said Tuesday.

Just over 200 other people who’d been on the ship were rescued, the navy said. 2013: Video shows naked migrants being hosed

The incident came a day after a boat carrying illegal migrants sank off the coast of Tripoli, Libya, killing at least 40 people, according to an account from Libya’s Interior Ministry.

Southern Italy — especially tiny Lampedusa, which is the closest Italian island to Africa — is a frequent destination for refugees seeking to enter European Union countries from Africa. Migrants often pack into unseaworthy and ill-equipped boats, and shipwrecks off Italian shores are common.

The Italian military has rescued about 2,000 migrants in the last five days alone, Italy’s navy said Monday, highlighting the difficulty in keeping up with the flow of migrants seeking to reach European soil.

Tens of thousands of people are rescued from the Mediterranean Sea each year, according to the European Union border agency, Frontex.

The U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, expressed its dismay Tuesday over the rising number of migrants dying as they try to make the perilous crossing. UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told reporters that those who lost their lives Monday include 12 women, three children and two men.

In addition, 121 people are believed to have died in three separate boat accidents off the Libyan coast over the past two weeks, he said.

Some of the 53 survivors of a shipwreck off Libya on May 6 told the UNHCR that the smugglers pushed them onto the boat and set off even though the boat was damaged in the middle, Edwards said. It’s believed 77 people drowned in that incident.

The deaths of more than 300 African migrants in a shipwreck off Lampedusa last October shocked Italy and the world, and led to calls for EU lawmakers to review their migration policies.

A rescue operation established by the Italian government after that tragedy saved more than 20,000 people at sea through early April, the United Nations refugee agency said. Nearly 43,000 migrants arrived in Italy by sea in 2013, according to the agency.

Many of the migrants are from African nations, while others have fled war-torn Syria.

The UNHCR believes more than 170 migrants have died at sea trying to reach Europe so far this year.

It praised rescue efforts by the Italian and Libyan authorities, as well as private boats, but said more still needs to be done.

“We also urge governments around the world to provide legal alternatives to dangerous sea journeys, ensuring desperate people in need of refuge can seek and find protection and asylum,” the agency said. “These alternatives could include resettlement, humanitarian admission, and facilitated access to family reunification.”

People’s Island

Filed under: canada,colonialism,culture,global islands — admin @ 4:23 am

Indigenous women and two-spirited* people are leading a resurgence movement in iyiniwi-ministik, the People’s Island.* They draw on their traditional roles as protectors of the land and water to inform their work in our communities, and root themselves in their specific socio-political orders to counter colonialism and to revitalize language and culture. Rather than being defined as a struggle against patriarchal gender roles and the division of labour, Indigenous women and two-spirited people’s work combats the imposition of colonial barriers. The goal is not to attain gender equality, but rather to restore Indigenous nationhood, which includes gender equality and respect for gender fluidity. Khelsilem Rivers (Skwxw??7mesh-Kwakwaka”ÿwakw), a community organizer from Vancouver, points out that not all Indigenous peoples have the same traditions, and that to avoid perpetuating Pan-Indian stereotypes, we need to have honest discussions about the diversity of our traditions. This is an important point indeed, as not all Indigenous nations have the same traditions with respect to the fluidity of gender roles. Romanticizing ourselves as a collective unfortunately plays into “noble savage” stereotypes and does damage in the long run. With so many Indigenous people disconnected from their specific traditions, even so-called positive stereotypes are a form of continuing erasure.

Monsoon Season

Filed under: bangladesh,climate change,disaster,india,png,weather — admin @ 4:19 am

Monsoonal flow develops in Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal The past week has seen the appearance of low-level monsoon flow in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal, with an increase in rainfall activity in the region. This monsoonal flow is expected to strengthen and deepen with further advancement towards India likely this week. When the onset of the southwest monsoon arrives over Kerala, it signals the arrival of the monsoon over the Indian subcontinent. Based on the recent appearance of monsoonal flow in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal, the India Meteorological Department expect onset at Kerala on 5 June (plus or minus four days). The normal date of monsoon onset over Kerala is 1 June. This past week has also seen enhanced tropical convection along the equator over Southeast Asia, Papua New Guinea and the western Pacific Ocean. Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) has recently weakened over the Indian Ocean. Climate models indicate it will remain weak over the next two weeks, with the chance of a very weak signal propagating eastwards along the equator over Southeast Asia and into the western Pacific. The MJO is not expected to be strong enough to have a substantial influence on tropical weather during the next fortnight.

A Bangladeshi ferry with around 200 passengers on board capsized in a river near the capital Dhaka. Police have stated six bodies have been recovered but more are still missing. The M.V. Miraj-4 ferry capsized in stormy weather in the Meghna river at Rasulpur in Munshiganj district, 27 kilometres from Dhaka. The accident occurred at around 3:30 pm (0930 GMT). So far six bodies had been recovered, including that of a child, according to Oliur Rahman, a police officer at the scene. With the monsoon season setting in more weather flooding and storm related problems can be expected.

Chikungunya outbreak

Filed under: caribbean,disease/health,dominica,dominican republic,haiti,usa — admin @ 4:14 am

They suffer searing headaches, a burning fever and so much pain in their joints they can barely walk or use their hands. It’s like having a terrible flu combined with an abrupt case of arthritis.

Hospitals and clinics throughout the Caribbean are seeing thousands of people with the same symptoms, victims of a virus with a long and unfamiliar name that has been spread rapidly by mosquitoes across the islands after the first locally transmitted case was confirmed in December.

“You feel it in your bones, your fingers and your hands. It’s like everything is coming apart,” said 34-year-old Sahira Francisco as she and her daughter waited for treatment at a hospital in San Cristobal, a town in the southern Dominican Republic that has seen a surge of the cases in recent days.

The virus is chikungunya, derived from an African word that loosely translates as “contorted with pain.” People encountering it in the Caribbean for the first time say the description is fitting. While the virus is rarely fatal it is extremely debilitating.

“It is terrible, I have never in my life gotten such an illness,” said Maria Norde, a 66-year-old woman confined to bed at her home on the lush eastern Caribbean island of Dominica. “All my jointsare in pain.”

Outbreaks of the virus have long made people miserable in Africa and Asia. But it is new to the Caribbean, with the first locally transmitted case documented in December in French St. Martin, likely brought in by an infected air traveler. Health officials are now working feverishly to educate the public about the illness, knock down the mosquito population, and deal with an onslaught of cases.

Authorities are attempting to control mosquitoes throughout the Caribbean, from dense urban neighborhoods to beach resorts. There have been no confirmed cases of local transmission of chikungunya on the U.S. mainland, but experts say the high number of travelers to the region means that could change as early as this summer.

So far, there are no signs the virus is keeping visitors away though some Caribbean officials warn it might if it is not controlled. “We need to come together and deal with this disease,” said Dominica Tourism Minister Ian Douglas.

One thing is certain: The virus has found fertile ground in the Caribbean. The Pan American Health Organization reports more than 55,000 suspected and confirmed cases since December throughout the islands. It has also reached French Guiana, the first confirmed transmission on the South American mainland.

The Pan American Health Organization says seven people in the Caribbean with chikungunya have died during the outbreak but they had underlying health issues that likely contributed to their death.

“It’s building up like a snowball because of the constant movement of people,” said Jacqueline Medina, a specialist at the Instituto Technologico university in the Dominican Republic, where some hospitals report more than 100 new cases per day.

Chikungunya was identified in Africa in 1953 and is found throughout the tropics of the Eastern Hemisphere. It is spread by two species of mosquitoes, aedes aegypti and aedes albopictus. It’s also a traveler-borne virus under the right circumstances.

It can spread to a new area if someone has it circulating in their system during a relatively short period of time, roughly 2-3 days before the onset of symptoms to 5 days after, and then arrives to an area with the right kind of mosquitoes.

For years, there have been sporadic cases of travelers diagnosed with chikungunya but without local transmission. In 2007, there was an outbreak in northern Italy, so health authorities figured it was just a matter of time before it spread to the Western Hemisphere, said Dr. Roger Nasci, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“With the increase in travelers the likelihood that something like this would happen goes up and eventually it did,” said Nasci, chief of a CDC branch that tracks insect-borne diseases. “We ended up with somebody at the right time and the right place infecting mosquitoes.” The two species of mosquitoes that spread chikungunya are found in the southern and eastern United States and the first local transmissions could occur this summer given the large number of U.S. travelers to the Caribbean, Nasci said. Already, the Florida Department of Health has reported at least four imported cases from travelers to Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Dominica.

“What we’re seeing now is an increase in the number of infected travelers coming from the Caribbean, which is expected because there’s a lot of U.S. travel, a lot of vacation travel, a lot of work travel,” he said.

Around the Caribbean, local authorities have been spraying fogs of pesticides and urging people to remove standing pools of water where mosquitoes breed.

An estimated 60-90 percent of those infected show symptoms, compared to around 20 percent for dengue, which is common in the region. There is no vaccine and the only cure is treatment for the pain and fluid loss.

One consolation for those suffering from the illness is that unlike dengue, which has several variants, people only seem to get chikungunya once.

“The evidence suggests that once you get it and recover, once your immune system clears the virus you are immune for life,” Nasci said.

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