Bishop Auckland Methodist Church

An evening with Fijian islanders

Invited to a Fijian Kava ceremony this evening (in Methodist communion glasses). It is a place for sharing stories and young Fijians who are delegates attending COP26 tell of their pain, determination, hope.

Relocation – already happening to coastal communities – one elder said so understatedly ‘is not easy!’

Not easy to relocate because

  1. coastal communities do not necessarily know farming or other land ways
  2. the land given is not always a secure sustainable place for the community to settle for years
  3. disabled people suffer most, often forced to relocate to somewhere that is not adapted and so become easily trapped
  4. the invisible, the spiritual, is not acknowledged – how can you move the resting places of ancestors that are now underwater? and
  5. yet their culture has always been resilient and adaptable and their own indigenous ways need to be honoured as islanders must be able to do it their own way

One young Fijian activist who was at COP told me tonight that she was inspired by the words she heard from Barak Obama to keep going

Another of the Fijian young people was in tears, he wanted to be at home helping his community in cyclone season, but he was in Glasgow not because he was searching for hope, it was too late for hopeful words, he was in Glasgow because his people have no option but to demand their voices are now heard

Loss and damage – the young Fijians asked how can you compensate the loss of culture and indigenous tradition? Meanwhile the local Sikhs welcome COP26.

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