Returning to Normal After Easter

As Easter week draws to a close, we are reminded again about the fragility of life here as a one year old child died this morning with severe protein malnutrition (Kwashiorkor). He arrived yesterday evening in a very weak state and slipped away this morning.
It has been a custom in this part of the world for older family members to adopt young children if they want to. In Melanesian culture this was often associated with people who had land but were childless and wanting a successor. This has largely died out, but the custom seems to be strong in the Micronesian community, resettled here from the Gilbert Islands (now known as Kiribati) in the 1960’s in colonial days. There are some big differences in their culture which revolves around the Maneaba (a communal meeting place). We currently have two more children from the same village who were adopted. Breast feeding is therefore curtailed and they are very prone to sickness. They also tend to have large families with home births. They are generally very sociable and happy people.

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