Insights into Kiribati life

GUESTS: Allan Edwards thanks Martin and Janice Hawley-Denby for their interesting talk about their lives on Kiribati at the Cleve Probus February meeting. Picture: Beth Deakin.
GUESTS: Allan Edwards thanks Martin and Janice Hawley-Denby for their interesting talk about their lives on Kiribati at the Cleve Probus February meeting. Picture: Beth Deakin.

Martin and Janice Hawley-Denby were guest speakers at the Cleve Probus Club’s February meeting where they talked about their lives on the islands of Kiribati in the Pacific Ocean.

The Hawley-Denbys are well travelled, having lived in Kiribati for three years, Adelaide for many years, Atherton Tableland for six years and Forster in New South Wales for three years.

They have returned to Cleve, renovating Mr Hawley-Denby’s house.

Members were fascinated to hear about their life in Kiribati for three years.

Their talk began with the national anthem of the Republic of Kiribati, which consists of 32 atolls and islands in the Central Pacific Ocean.

The islands are the tops of volcanoes and the water becomes very deep once you leave their shores.

With a population of about 100,000, independence was gained from Britain in 1979.

Australian currency is used and the average temperature ranges from a minimum of 26 degrees to a maximum of 36 to 38 but it is not humid with very little wind.

There is only 15 minutes variation in sunset.

The Hawley-Denbys showed slides of their home on Abaiang Island.

The island is 20 metres wide at its narrowest point and 800 metres at its widest, 43 kilometres long and half a metre above sea level.

They said there was no electricity and water had to be boiled on a gas stove.

They were provided with a cement home but they slept in a movable sleeping platform called a kea kea.

They said there was an abundance of crayfish, lobsters and mosquitoes, although not the type to cause malaria or dengue fever.

Pictures were shown of the school where Mrs Hawley-Denby taught and many incidents of Mr Hawley-Denby’s mechanical experiences and of friends.

Fruit from the breadfruit tree was a staple diet and fish from the fish trap.

Pictures were shown of the school where Mrs Hawley-Denby taught and many incidents of Mr Hawley-Denby’s mechanical experiences and of friends.

Allan Edwards moved a vote of thanks to Janice and Martin saying what a tremendous life journey they had had.

He remarked how happy the island people seemed to be, despite having nothing in material goods.