Most people I’ve met have never heard of it before. You probably also didn’t know that it’s actually pronounced kee-ree-bess. The ti makes an s sound.
Kiribati is a tiny island nation located in the middle of the Pacific, straddling the equator and, until recently, the international dateline. It consists of tiny islands called atolls which average only 2 meters above sea level. The capital island, Tarawa, is the most developed, although it still lacks many basic needs. It also has an overpopulation problem. The outer islands are much more remote, the majority lacking electricity, toilets, and access to proper medical care. Malnutrition and diabetes are also serious problems throughout Kiribati.
A bathroom in Abarao, Tarawa
I spent two years in Kiribati, divided between several different islands: Tarawa, Butaritari, Onotoa, and Nikunau. Though the living conditions were certainly tough, this was easily outweighed by the love I developed for these people and their culture. Despite such humble circumstances, they are an incredibly happy people and treat guests very warmly.
So great was my love for the people of Kiribati, that I not only wanted to do something for them, but I also wanted to help the world see something that we were missing out on. Over my time in Kiribati, I realized that they have something that we don’t have. Something that money can’t buy. And my goal was to help others get just a glimpse of that.
Kids in Tabuarorae, Onotoa
Me with a family in Nikumanu, Nikunau
Because of my background in programming, I figured what better way for me to create awareness of Kiribati than through a mobile game. I set out to make a game that would take place within the islands of Kiribati, highlighting the culture and language, while following a fun story dotted with Kiribati mythology. The idea for Kan Rebe! was born.
“Kan rebe” (pronounced kahn reh-beh) is a phrase that, loosely translated into English, means to want to fight or to like fighting. The battles in Kan Rebe! are centered around a Polynesian fighting game, hence the title.
My game is still very much in the development phase, but I will be posting regular progress updates, as well as facts about Kiribati and how I am incorporating them into my game. With the release of Kan Rebe!, my hope is to not only raise awareness of Kiribati (very few people know it exists and thus doesn't receive the aid it deserves), but to also provide support for basic needs in Kiribati through the funds received from my game.
If you want to learn more about Kiribati, I recommend savekiribati.com.
Ti a bo! (Goodbye)
(Original post: jschoeny.com/kanrebe/kan-rebe-a-tribute-to-kiribati)