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Aitutaki and the Economic Meltdown

February 2, 2009


Approach by air to the atoll: Photo by Shawn Herring

Having recently returned with my family from a trip to the Cook Islands, we observed the consequences of the global recession in a distant and remote area of Oceania.  The consensus of the inhabitants of the island of Aitutaki is a  rather bemused and passive observation of global processes they don’t fully grasp.  The real impact there is of course on tourism, the lifeblood of their limited economy.

Why bankers in far-off countries have made such disastrous choices is an unanswerable question to people who have seen nothing but trouble from the white colonizers and missionaries who so decimated their native  culture beginning in the early 1800s.  The good news is that they don’t blame individual travelers, and we were certainly greeted during our stay with real hospitality.

As the global economy continues to tank, while corporate executives  make off with piles of ill-gotten cash from the US bailout, the fact that some elements of the world’s population can treat North Americans with grace and dignity gives hope for the future of international understanding.  Now let’s just pray that sea levels don’t rise as much as has been predicted and sink the Cook Islands and the wonderful people who live there.

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