The Nationl, Monday 10th September, 2012
THREE Alaskans who arrived in Bougainville on Thursday were welcomed by the relocated Carteret Islanders community at Woroav village, Tinputz district, with the traditional tsu tsu ceremony.
The tsu tsu washing of hands and legs with special leaves is a belief of the Bougainville people that it protects foreigners from evil or harm.At their welcome ceremony, Tinputz Primary School headmaster Peter Salei thanked Alaskan Newtok villagers Stanley Tom, George Tom and Alaska immigration justice project director Robin Brenon, saying they were struggling with relocation issues.
The three are in Bougainville to discuss and share ideas and experiences on relocation as a result of climate change.“When your ice melts in Alaska, my island of Carterets sinks further into the sea,” Salei said.
“Climate change is a global issue and needs global action.”
He told the Alaskans his was a small community just like theirs, where people lived off the sea and land.
“We can only do our part although we are victims of others’ failure and wrong doings.”
He said since 2009, there were now seven families living in Woroav, while three more would be moving there soon.
Non-governmental organisation, Tulele Peisa director Ursula Rakova said of the five houses built, two were semi-permanent and three from bush material.
Rakova said eight more houses would be built thanks to funding from Bread for the World and the Lutheran church in Germany.
She thanked the Catholic church for the provision of land for the first 10 Carteret families to be relocated to.
She said 83 families had signed up for the relocation programme to four sites.
Tulele Peisa was formed in 2006 at the request of the Carterets Islands Council of Elders to fast-track the relocation process. The Alaskans are scheduled to visit the Carterets until Tuesday.