Community spaces – what I found in Kiribati

Wonderful islands and their people, it was a privilege to grow up amongst them. The University of Cambridge Anthropological Museum is featuring Kirabati weaving and armour in April.

Journey into the heart of humankind

Excerpt from the book “Families of the World: East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific”

9 am  – “Ritang, take the baby,” says Grandmother. She goes to sit in front of her old rotting house and starts weaving pandanu leaves. Her own house badly needs repairs, but the leaves she weaves this morning are for the maneaba, the village’s large meeting house, where all decisions are made, in the presence of the elders.

10 am – Bakea goes to the maneaba with her neighbour, both women pulling their piece of leaf work for the roof repairs. A week from now, the whole population of Tabiteuea South, the neighbouring island, will visit in their canoes, and Tab North is getting ready for the great event.

In the village of Utiroa, the whole community answers the call to take care of the community house. This is the group’s central space, where…

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