First things first, Kiribati is pronounced as KEE-ree-buhss, not KEE-ree-ba-tee. I was surprised when I found out about this and was told that in Kiribati language, “ti” is actually pronounced “ss”. As for its location, Kiribati is located in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, straddling the equator and comprises of 32 atolls. In short, it’s rather isolated.
The government tourism website of Kiribati introduces Kiribati as such:
“Kiribati is for travellers – those who have a passion for exploring and discovering, people who like an adventure off the tourist trail to places where few have been before, and people who want to understand a country – not just see it. Kiribati will challenge your view of how life should be and show you a less complicated way of living where family and community come first.” (http://www.kiribatitourism.gov.ki/)
Some of my first impressions of Kiribati when I arrived after a flight from Suva, Fiji. There are very few flights to South Tarawa, the capital of Kiribati and for my trip, I had to take three flights and stay one night in Fiji before finally arriving in Kiribati.
Most houses in Kiribati are made of materials obtained from coconut and pandanus trees. The trunks are used for the structure, coconut fibre is used as strings to bind the wood together while palm leaves are used for roofing.
The variety of food on Kiribati is limited as it depends on whether the shipments of food arrive. There is a general shortage of fruits and I remember being told when I was there that oranges were in short supply as it did not arrive in the last shipment. The diet of I-Kiribati, the native people of Kiribati, consists mainly of locally available products (coconut, breadfruit, fish, chicken, pork, and occasionally eggs) and imported rice.