Faces of Fiji: Resilience and Relocation of Narikoso Village


Allow me to step back into a project I hadn’t had the opportunity to share in detail. Narikoso will forever have a special place in my heart and it’s taken me time to process the many encounters and experiences during a short stay.

First sunset in Narikoso village

Climate change exacerbates problems around the world, but on a small coastal village called Narikoso, the problems are felt much more intimately.

Children of Narikoso Village

The effects of a rising sea level were evident. When I arrived in Narikoso village by a speedboat, I could see waves crashing against the edge of the homes – it was almost like the bottom and side of the homes were sitting in the water.

When I spoke to the man inside the house he explained, “the water was much further out before. My house was always safe from water coming in during high tide. Now it is not the case”

A sudden wake-up call, he asked for help from the government and successfully collaborated with different people to arrange a relocation of the entire village of Narikoso.

Waves pushing past a human-made ‘seawall’

This reality was a wake-up call for the residents of Narikoso village, who collectively felt that “things are changing and there is something we have to do about it to protect the future of our village”. 

Faces of Resilience

For me, understanding the meaning of resilience is a deeper yearning to understand what it means to be human.

I think that what defines us, as human, is the capacity to face adversity and uncertainty with strength and resilience.

KEEPING TRADITION THROUGH WEAVING
Showing me the art of weaving

For this woman, she continues to do weaving with dried leaves as a way to preserve the heritage. She said, “for me, weaving is an important part of our culture. We use weaved mats for daily life, weddings, and funerals.” I continue to weave to keep the culture.

AN AGE OLD LIVELIHOOD
Fisherman’s catch

A fisherman shows me his art and face of resilience through traditional ways of fishing.

YOUTH ARE THE BACKBONE
Member of the Youth Group

I met with a Youth Group in Narikoso village where I had the opportunity to learn about the role of young people in the village.

It’s a global challenge and very much not a given that youth can participate actively in society and have their voice heard. So when I learned that there was a youth group that is working with elders and community leaders to participate and pass down knowledge about livelihood activities like beekeeping, spearfishing, and gardening, it was very touching.

More than that, the youth came together to support each other. The Youth Group leader said, “youth are the backbone of our village”.

JOY OF CHILDREN

In the same way that I believe that youth are an important piece of the puzzle to creating a more just and peaceful future, I equally think that children can demonstrate resilience. As children laugh, run, and play with me in Narikoso village, I am reminded of the unending joy of children.

Relocation to Higher Ground

Village of Narikoso
Relocation site of Narikoso village

With the project called “EU-GIZ Adapting to Climate Change & Sustainable Energy Programme (ACSE)” a reallocation of the entire village of Narikoso is possible. This relocation involves a step-by-step approach to move people to higher ground.

Visiting the project, for me, was about first understanding how people are being challenged climate change and then understanding how people are doing something about it.

Tell me: what does the word ‘resilience’ mean for you? Have you met resilient people who overcame great adversaries? 

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