You know, out of all the countries I’ve looked at so far, I feel like I’ve got the most out of the smallest one – Nauru. I went into April not knowing what resources I’d even find about Nauru, and I’m ending the month having learned so much about the incredible story of this one small island.
I really want to thank Elmina Quadina for sharing valuable information and pictures about her country, as well as her excellent coconut fish recipe! Also a big thank you to UVic for couriering me rare books on Nauru clear across Canada – being able to access stories by Nauruans as well as a piece of their world-class string figure repertoire has been an amazing learning experience.
I learned a lot about Nauru’s history – an incredible tale of a small island that passed through German, British, Japanese, and Australian hands, that flourished into a wealthy resource-fueled independent republic, and then suffered a dramatic collapse as first the phosphate, then the money, ran out. This was followed by attempts to find new sources of revenue – offshore banking, supporting Japan on whaling or Taiwan as a nation (as well as less-recognized places), and most infamously, hosting Australian refugee detention camps. However, it’s also a story of resilience – even their holidays focus on their story of survival.
There’s also plenty of lighter Nauruan things I got to experience as well – smooth reggae beats, a sip of something strong, powerful athletes, cool caves, and a suspiciously familiar national anthem. If I ever get the chance to visit, I’d absolutely go – this month has really stuck with me.