Aid for Matuku

Dear friends and followers of our blog,
we were overwhelmed by all the support and love you’ve sent us after our accident. Thank you all!
We nearly died two weeks ago, and we’re still aching, but we are recovering. Our friend Maikeli, the headman of Makadru, drowned and his death was a serious blow to the island community, who lost a generous, caring man who worked ambitiously for the island. We feel strongly that something positive should come out of the accident…

1. We went out with Maikeli to take pictures of the pass in order to include them in a government report to get funding for the installation of a tabu non-fishing area. To be honest, we kindled that idea with the headmen and chiefs of Matuku during our last visit–they still have areas with wonderful coral and a healthy fish population, but the signs of overfishing are already there. We convinced them that protecting early means securing the future of their subsistence fishing and were happy to see a wildfire of planned tabu areas going through all 7 villages. At the risk of sounding theatrical, Maikeli basically died for the idea of sustainable fishing for the future of the island–he wanted a night-time ban on spearfishing in a permanent tabu area and a smaller core zone with no spear-fishing at all. We would therefore like to organise funding to help them with the Tabu. It’s not much money probably, just to buy some buoys to mark it, a ceremony to start it off so people will know about it and respect it and fuel to do occasional patrols with a longboat around the island to ensure the night-time tabu is observed once installed.

2. We experienced how dreadful it feels to have seriuos injuries and no way to diagnose them. Matuku has a hospital, doctor and nurse, but no medical equipment apart from some hospital beds and a small pharmacy. Talking to the islanders we found many who had suffered fractures during a fall or similar accident, which went untreated and only were diagnosed too late when they eventually made it to Suva. E.g. our host Jiko, the chief of Lomati, broke his jaw once, survived drinking milk for a month and when he got to Suva finally (he was already to chew soft things at that point) the doctors told him they could either leave the jaw, or break and reset it–of course he took the first option… We are wondering whether we could get a used x-ray machine for the hospital to help the doc with diagnoses. This would serve not only Matuku, but also the neighbouring islands of Totoya and Moala. Dr. Etuwate was thrilled about our idea and has approached his superiors about it.

If you would like to help us organise these projects for Matuku,
if you would like to support the funding,
if you have contacts with companies of medical equipment,
if you know doctors/medical centres who might want to donate a used x-ray machine as they are upgrading their equipment,
please get in touch!

Europe is struggling to help the victims of the dreadful war in the Ukraine and with the aftermath of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, but hopefully we can still raise interest in the hardships and problems of the little islands of Fiji…

Here’s a picture of Maikeli and me working on the Tabu report just 2 days before the accident…


  1. Ron Noordhoek says:

    I sure would like to help. I’m not a very wealthy man, I’m sorry

    1. Christian says:

      We’re happy about any help! thx

  2. Linda Edeiken says:

    I am looking into contacts I have that could help with the Tabu fishing areas and will get back to you. For the medical help, will you set up a “go fund me ” campaign or how will you be accepting donations?

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