Since December 6th we are back in Germany. Our experiences in the Pacific have strongly influenced us. Did you know that the Marshallese way of saying hello has three spellings and three meanings? The “hello” of the Pacific Republic can be written as “Yokwe”, “Iakwe” or “Yakwe” and it means “hello”, but also “I love you.” Or “you are as beautiful as the rainbow is.”
Once a year, there is a Marshallese film festival on Majuro. Among the thirteen submissions this year was a short film about “Happiness”, which the young people created from our workshop in Laura. Although it won no prize in the end, it got a thunderous applause from the audience. Here it is. “Happiness” from Laura Highschool Media Team.
Today we sent a copy of the footage from Majuro (RMI) to our production company “Studio Kalliope” in Potsdam (Germany). The little package in the video below has it all. It contains 8 hard disks, each with 5 TB of video material and audio recordings, therefore 40 TB of data and an HD proxy on two additional hard disks. If one were to watch all video recordings without interruption one after the other, one would need more than two weeks to see it all, we have calculated. The package is now on its way to Hawaii. From there it reaches a postal distribution center in the US and then it flies across the Atlantic to a cool european autumn, where a DHL messenger will one gray morning hand it over to Maria Kling at the garden fence. Good trip, small package! Do not get lost.
A lot has happened again. So much that we neglect this blog very much. By the summer of 2018, the participants in our workshops and we have shot many interviews and moods. The amount of material is enormous. We have also edited smaller film projects, some of which can (will) be found on this blog. In addition to the workshops on Majuro, Christina took over workshops on Ebeye. We were able to actively involve 75 people on the Marshall Islands in the film work, that is not counting the many advisors and helpers. That’s about 0.14 percent of the total population, but above all, there are 75 great people who contribute their experiences, perspectives and ideas to the project. (*1)
September 8th is a global day to rise for climate action. Activities and demonstrations are planned in more than 70 countries to end the era of fossel fuels and building 100% renewable energy for all. In Germany alone, more than 25 events are planned.
Also here on the Marshall Islands and other Pacific Islands, they are preparing for the 8th of September. Under the slogan #RiseForClimate and #RiseForPacificPawa (“Pawa” – Pidgin English for “Power”), the many small island states unite to support each other, letting the world know: we are not drowning, we are fighting. They fight for the protection of the climate, for the survival of their islands and for their cultural identity. We filmed the preparatory meeting of the environmental organization Jo-Jikum, which is our local partner and part of the global climate movement 350.org. This year’s campaign symbol is Kikonang, a sort of palm leaf windmill. It stands for movement, for renewable energy such as wind and solar energy, for the arts and crafts, which has an important cultural significance here and many reminds them of their childhood, as it is a popular toy on the island states. It is important to tackle the climate crisis globally. There is no industry in the Marshall Islands, and people are the least polluting people due to greenhouse gas emissions. But they are at the frontlines to be affected by the impacts of climate change.
During the Second World War, the Marshall Islands, due to their geographical location in the Pacific, were the scene of numerous armed conflicts between the USA and Japan. Even today the traces of it are visible. On and around the various atolls you can find the remains of bunkers and control centers, sunken shipwrecks and crashed planes. The upper photo shows the ruins of Japanese tankers on the island of Tarawa in Maloelap Atoll.
In the video you see an American aircraft wreck (probably a small bomber) lying on the bottom of the Majuro lagoon. It has become an artificial reef for a variety of living beings. Irony of time.
With our workshops, we always make small trips. The voyage told below in the video leads us to the island of Kolol En. We accompanied Jina David, an environmental activist and Councelmen. Together with a group of young people, Jina tested the water quality in the island’s rain reservoirs and at the same time taught the young people how to provide clean water in the future. Jina’s project was made possible by Jo-Jikum and KIO.
For a week, our team member Christina Schulze accompanied a research team led by the Marshallese scientist Mark Stege in their work on the Maloelap Atoll. From this week she brought you a little movie titled “Stewards of the Environment”, which already gives you some of the narrative style and moods of our future movie.
And 13,070 kilometers away from the Maloelap Atoll, the Potsdam (Germany) based musician Marc Schicker composed the music for her video while watching it. Have fun watching and listening.
We went to Rita. From here you can not drive on. Majuro’s main road ends here. (*1) From this point you can look over to the next islands of the atoll, which are arranged around the lagoon. Our workshop participants Hanson and Ronny chose the location for their interview. Both grew up here in Rita, but now live in the town-center of Majuro. We set up the tripod, set up the big Canon and check the sound. Ok, are you ready? “Audio picks up.” “Camera is running.” Let’s go.
April, 18th: We have been feverishly looking forward to this day, it is the first major information event to enlist participants for our participative film project. We had been working a lot for publicity for this meeting in advance. We placed ads on Facebook and sent a bulk SMS to all cell phone owners on the island. The Marshall Islands Journal wrote about us and Mark was a guest on a live broadcast on the radio. The city was full of our flyers and there was quite a lot of word of mouth recommendation.