In his absorbing 2014 memoir, What days are for, Robert Dessaix reflects on being "mugged by death". At one point he asks, somewhat rhetorically;
There’s a hopefulness to travel, don’t you think?
Given the memoir's context, it's a profoundly intimate question: anyone at the edge of the eternal abyss, but not yet resigned to being drawn into it must have at their core a measure of hope. There's an altogether broader point too, which is sophisticatedly untangled elsewhere in the book and in an earlier collection of essays, As I was saying. It's that travel transports us, quite literally, from our everyday tedium. Travel is, Robert contends, transformative; something the 'escapes' and 'getaways' relentlessly pushed by a lazy travel-industry juggernaut are unlikely if not unable to achieve.
The transformative nature of travel goes a long way toward explaining my interest in and dedication to supporting community development on the remote Trobriand Island of Kitava. My initial visit there in 2015 was made with little knowledge of the islands, other than a few early twentieth century Bronisław Malinowski ethnographies poured over at university more than twenty years earlier.
Consequently, my experiences of Kitava and its larger neighbouring island, Kiriwina (an en route stop-over), have proven transformative. Like so few other destinations, I feel a kinship with the place and its people that I've yet to fully understand or appreciate. Dessaix frequently employs the analogy of one's life being like a thread; interweaving with the threads of other's lives. Extending the analogy, threads can be tightly or loosely woven; strong or delicate; colourful or dull; course or smooth; temporary or lasting; irreperable or not...
Be as it may, my Kitavan 'thread' currently binds with those of so many others on the island. I invite you to weave your thread with mine for however long or closely, to help knit a more prosperous and sustainable future for Kitava. As of the moment of posting this, my friends, family and colleagues have raised $1,790 of the $4,000 needed.
If you'd like to help bring solar generators and panels to each of Kitava's three major villages, please telephone +61 (0) 425 095 459 or get in touch through this Facebook page or my website. Alternatively, you can click GoFundMe to make a direct donation. Thank you!