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. Bakea 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. Bakea joins the other villagers squatting near the water, their backs to the reef. The beach in all its beauty is their toilet.
The gigantic babai
The babai is traditionally planted when a child is born so that it is ready to eat the day that child marries. The lenght of growth is due to the coral ground of the islands where very little grows beside coconut trees. The starchy root of the babai was once the main subsistence food of the islanders, but today they prefer buying rice and canned foods.
No one ever comes home from the garden empty-handed
4:00 The children have joined their parents and on their way back, they pass through the garden, gathering the fallen coconuts, which Terewati puts into a bag and carries home. Terewati does not know how much land he has in the five dispersed family gardens. Traditionally, the kin group owns the land. Registration of the land according to individual ownership began under colonial rule, but Terewati, like most I-Kiribati, does not consider it very important.
No one ever comes home from the garden empty-handed. The children pick up dry branches for firewood.
Teteki making fertilizer for the babai. She does it every two weeks.
Kiribati, one of the first country to be affected by climate change