Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Blog Action Day Takes on Climate Change:The death of an idyllic island.

I wrote this short story with the scenario of global warming in mind.

The death of an idyllic island.

Sisa packed her bags, looked around her little house on the stilts, crestfallen and heavy hearted. She had to leave behind her best china and silver. The headman had specified only two change of clothing and a few photographs.

"You can start all over when we arrive in American Samoa. You can buy anything there."

She called her husband, “Tomi, hurry up, you can not take the dogs, pigs and the chickens.”

The US frigate was waiting out at the lagoon, and the little boats were waiting to take the last of the laggards to go to American Samoa. The younger Islanders of the Wago Wago Island had gone left for American Samoa and California. For Sisa, Tomi and her friends of her generation, they had refused to go and had not heeded the weather change, and the rate that the water level was coming up to cover their beloved island.

Now, the water level has come half way up their stilts, the salt water had killed off all their taro plants. Only the coconut palms were standing, where almost, a lot of them were falling. The beach, where she had dug for pipis, cockles and mussles have been eaten up by the tides. The water comes to where her garden was. The island was almost one third of its original size.

Sisa lamented for the death of her island, the once popular tourist site especially for young back packers. It was idyllic and unspoilt by commercialism. The white sand was pristine and food was plentiful. The tranquil lagoon provided all the fish and sea food they need.

Young Americans and Germans came with just a few dollars and they would stay for months, courtesy the friendly villagers. They love the lifestyle where time was not of essence. They came to surf the waves and fish in the sea. Some of them stay and marry the Wago Wago young girls and take them back to the US of A and Germany. The children of these mixed ancestry were beautiful and famous for their singing and music and inherited their mothers’ kind hospitality.

Sisa sighed, “All these will be gone in no time if the scientists’ predictions are true. It’s all due to global warming, they say.” Though she and Tomi did not require scientists and their scientific reports to tell them that the sea is rising and their beloved island was sinking.

Sis and Tomi looked around, a "king tide" had flooded their garden and showered it with rocks and debris. The devastation was so great, the next “king tide” would take their house out to sea. If they didn’t go now, they too would be carried out to sea and their house would be their coffin to meet their watery grave.

The Chief emphasized that this US frigate would be the last for the exodus, and any stubborn islanders would be like the people during Noah’s times. American Samoa would be too far for them to swim to.

The world didn’t listen to the islanders about the plight of their island. They were sitting ducks and at the island’s demise, USA offered their sanctuary.

“Our identity will be lost, our children and their children will embrace the American culture. How sad that day will be. If only a miracle will happen like Noah’s time” as Sisa board the frigate.

As the frigate slowly sailed west, the old islanders held their hands and cried openly, “Goodbye, my home land, Goodbye.”


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Ruth said...

How sad.

Anonymous said...

A moving piece, especially when read in the context of what’s happening to the Maldives which is drowning. They’re looking to buy land in Sri Lanka, India or Australia where the 400,000 Maldiveans (?) can move to when their islands are eventually submerged. Their President recently made an urgent appeal at the UN to do something quickly, but it may be too late for the Maldives. Besides, there's no oil there :(

Your short story is very realistic in view of what’s happening there. It could become one chapter of a longer eco-disaster story, or a romance story set within an eco-disaster scenario if you so choose.

Thanks for sharing.