The family sits in the dark in front of the house. Suddenly the silence of the night is broken by the wind rising. In less than a minute it is pandemonium. Teteki and her husband run to untie the roof straw hanging on each side of the house. Then they fasten the floor mats to serve as shelter. “Ritang, Ritang,” Grandmother runs to her house, calling her grand-daughter to follow. The rain starts.
Terewati sits with Teteki outside the mosquito net while she finishes her meal. Before climbing into bed beside their children, Teteki turns down the oil lamp. The day surrenders to sleepers’ sighs and the sounds of wind and water.
The beach is their toilet
One is always near the sea on the atoll of Tab North, as the 20-kilometre long island is no more than one kilometre wide at any point. Teteki walks with her two youngest to the lagoon side of the island, whose coral reefs keep the rough seas calm and whose change of tides over its white sandy bottom turns the sea every shade of blue possible. Teteki joins the other villagers squatting near the water, their backs to the reef. The beach in all its beauty is their toilet.