Land is in real demand in Tuvalu, especially on Funafuti. In 10 years, the population has increased so much that there is not enough bush material left to build traditional houses; there is little fresh rainwater (groundwater is not potable); and the soil is tainted by the salt-laden winds, limiting agricultural development. In addition, much of Funafuti’s land was excavated by the Americans to build an airstrip during World War II. The huge holes Tuvaluans call “borrow pits” have never been refilled. If they were, as everyone dreams they will be someday, there would be more space for planting.

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