KIRIBATI – KIRIBATI

Bela crkva-A white church

Bela crkva-A white church

Deo lagune-Part of the lagoon

Deo lagune-Part of the lagoon

Dolazak aviona je najveca zabava-Airplane arrival is the biggest fun

Dolazak aviona je najveca zabava-Airplane arrival is the biggest fun

Igra na koralnom sprudu-Playing on a coral reef

Igra na koralnom sprudu-Playing on a coral reef

Ljubicasta crkva-A violet church

Ljubicasta crkva-A violet church

Mali izbor suvenira-Poor choice of souvenirs

Mali izbor suvenira-Poor choice of souvenirs

Nacionalni simboli i zgrada Parlamenta-National symbols and the Parliament building

Nacionalni simboli i zgrada Parlamenta-National symbols and the Parliament building

Nadmorska visina-Altitude

Nadmorska visina-Altitude

Nekada je to bio brod-It used to be a boat

Nekada je to bio brod-It used to be a boat

Neometeni san-Undisturbed dream

Neometeni san-Undisturbed dream

Ostaci rata na Pacifiku-The remnants of the Pacific War

Ostaci rata na Pacifiku-The remnants of the Pacific War

Plava crkva-A blue church

Plava crkva-A blue church

Rezidencija predsednika-Residence of the President

Rezidencija predsednika-Residence of the President

Sadnice magrovog drveta kao zastita koralnog spruda-Mangrove planted to protect the reef

Sadnice magrovog drveta kao zastita koralnog spruda-Mangrove planted to protect the reef

U tonu-In the same colours

U tonu-In the same colours

Zenski razgovori-Women's talk

Zenski razgovori-Women’s talk

Zgrada Parlamenta-Parliament building

Zgrada Parlamenta-Parliament building

Zuta crkva-A yellow church

Zuta crkva-A yellow church

Postoji jedan putopisni roman prema kome je napravljena baletska predstava,
koji se naziva Tužni tropi (Tristes Tropiques), francuskog autora Kloda
Levi-Štrausa. Čak i baletske kretnje odaju neku tugu, iz koje su se izrodili
čudovisno tužni oblici nekih stvorenja dugih vratova.
Negde na kraju sveta, gde se nalazi ova grupa atola u prostranoj tirkiznoj
laguni, čovek se zaista oseća tužno i, moglo bi se reći, ponekad depresivno.
Možda se to ne bi moglo reći za pacifičke narode, ali mnogi Evropljani na
takav način doživljavaju ovaj ambijent, u kome se skoro ništa ne dešava. Čak
i vesela deca u vodi, koju posmatram sa terase hotela, koji se nalazi u
tužnoj fazi raspadanja a vodi se kao jedini i najbolji, ne mogu da poprave
taj utisak. Jedan dečak pluta na komadu belog stiropora koji je odnekud
zalutao, i veselo me pozdravlja, dok devojčica pored njega koketno češlja
svoju dugu kosu raspuštenu po svetlotirkiznoj vodi. Samo za neku godinu
postaće ogromna i teška i više će ličiti na suprotni pol, što je česta
odlika pacifičkih naroda. Jedini sam imatang (beli čovek) i, uopšte, gost u
hotelu gde mi kuvar priznaje da se zabavljaju dok nâs belce gledaju kako
uživamo u hrani i piću. Bar oni imaju neku zabavu.
Tarawa je glavni atol, na kome se nalazi sve što je važno za zemlju: zgrada
Parlamenta koja me podseća na sidnejsku operu, samo sto je znatno manja i
odavno trpi sve posledice vlage i soli, zatim glavni trg sa ogromnim drvetom
oko koga se nalaze pošta, banka i crkva, a, negde u blizini, nalazi se i
predsednikova kuća. Čuvar se naglas preslišava učeći lekcije iz udžbenika za
policijsku školu, koja je preko puta, tako da nije ni najmanju pažnju
obratio na mene koji sam nesmetano fotografisao; skoro da sam mogao da
ušetam kod predsednika na kafu. Pomislih da je to demokratski predsednik, a
ne oni koje prati jako obezbeđenje i telohranitelji. Ne znam zašto bi mu
uopšte neko želeo bilo kakvo zlo.
Uočljivo različiti od ostalih stanovnika, mogu se na ostrvu videti elegantno
obučeni beli mladići u tamnim pantalonama i belim košuljama sa kravatama. To
su misionari mormona, koji imaju jednu od najlepših crkvi. Ostale, veoma
brojne misije i njihove crkve možda nisu toliko bogate, ali se i dalje
nalaze u vekovnoj trci za pridobijanjem lokanog stanovništva.
Na nekim mestima atol se toliko sužava da je sa jedne strane puta modroplavi
okean, a sa druge strane svetlotirkizna laguna. To je nezaboravan prizor,
posebno kad nastupi oseka, a meštani krenu u potragu za morskim dobrima,
koja ostanu u pesku. U malim prirodnim bazenima može se videti poneko
ogromno crno telo lokalnog domoroca, koje se srećno obrće u mestu, ili deca
i psi koji se veselo igraju. Lepota prirode je beskrajna, tako da siromaštvo
postaje manje primetno ili se, jednostavno, lakše podnosi u takvom
ambijentu.
Na međunarodnom aerodromu Bonriki je živopisna baraka, oko čijih žica su
načičkani radoznali posmatrači retkih aviona. Sa piste se teraju prolaznici
da bi avion mogao da sleti ili poleti. Ja sam se udobno smestio na samom
njenom kraju kako bih imao jedinstvenu priliku da mi avion preleti iznad
glave.
Taj doživljaj se, ipak, ne bi mogao nazvati tužnim, kao na početku priče,
već, naprotiv, posebnim i neponovljivim.

Januar 2011.
_________________________________________________________

Claude Lévi-Strauss wrote a travelogue called The Sad Tropics (Tristes
Tropiques),upon which a ballet has been based. Even the ballet choreography
is full of sadness which engenders sadly monstrous shapes of fantastic
beings with long necks.
Somewhere at the world’s end, where the group of these atolls lays in a vast
turquoise lagoon, you can feel really sad, even depressed. Maybe this is not
true of the Micronesian indigenous people, but many Europeans feel exactly
like that in the ambiance of this place where nothing ever happens. Even
some happy children splashing in the water, whom I observe from a balcony of
a hotel that has fallen into sad disrepair, despite being praised as the
best (and only) one around – even the children cannot change the impression
of sadness I have. A boy is surfing on a piece of styrofoam, which has
strayed from somewhere, and is cheerfully waving his hand, while a girl is
coquettishly combing her long hair floating around her in the turquoise
water. Only in a few years she will become really big and heavyweight and
will look more like the opposite sex, which is a common trait of the Pacific
people. I am the only imatang (white person) and actually the only guest in
the hotel, where a cook confesses to me that the staff are having fun
watching us, white people, enjoy their food and drinks. At least they have
some fun.
Tarawa is the main atoll where everything of importance for this country is
situated: the Parliament building which reminds me of the Sydney Opera
House, only it is smaller and has suffered the consequences of damp and sea
salt, then the main square with a gigantic tree around which the post
office, the bank and the church are situated, and somewhere close by is the
President’s residence. The guard is revising aloud some units from the
Police school textbook – his school is just across the road – so he did not
pay the slightest attention to me while I was taking many photographs; I
almost thought I could drop by for coffee with the President if I wanted. I
thought that this was a democratic President, not the type to be protected
by bodyguards and heavy security. I cannot think of why anyone would want to
harm him anyway.
Distinctly different from the rest of the population on this island are
smartly dressed white young men, wearing dark trousers and white shirts with
ties. They are Mormon missionaries and they have one of the prettiest
churches around. Other faiths and their churches may not have as much money,
but they have been in competition for centuries to woo the local population
to join them.
In certain spots this atoll narrows so much that on one side of the road is
the navy blue ocean while on the other is a pale turquoise lagoon. It is an
unforgettable sight especially at the time of the low tide when the locals
start searching in the sand for goodies that the sea has washed up. In small
natural pools of water you can occasionally see a huge dark body of a local
happily twirling on the spot, or children and dogs cheerfully playing
together. The natural beauties are infinite, so that deprivation is less
obvious, or simply, it is more easily tolerated in such surroundings.
At the Bonriki International Airport you can find a picturesque, colourful
hut, fenced off by wire behind which curious spectators observe rare planes
that fly by. Passers-by have to be removed from the runway in order for the
airplanes to take off or land. I made myself comfortable at the very end of
the runway so that I have a unique opportunity to experience a plane flying
directly above my head.
This experience cannot be called sad, like at the beginning of this article;
rather, it was actually unique and inimitable.

January 2011

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