On May 28th 2007, the non-governmental organization NPO Tuvalu Overview 10,000 Tuvaluan Project team Ms. Silafaga Lalua, Ms. Yuko Endo, Ms. Kyoko Kawasaka, and Mr. Shuuichi Endou completed the Project in Nukulaelae atoll, which is located to the south of Funafuti Atoll. The journey between the two islands took almost a half day by the cargo-passenger boat named "Manu-folau". According to the 2002 census, 392 people - including people who work or study in the other islands of Tuvalu - live on the Fanaua islet of Nukulaelae atoll; this islet is only 1.2 km long. These people comprise about 4% of the total population of Tuvalu.
On May 12th, the team started its project from the house located in the east end of Pepesala village on the lagoon side of Fangaua and visited the houses on the west end of Nukualofa village on the ocean side everyday. After two weeks, on May 28th, the team successfully completed interviews and photographs of all the people (about 340) who were living on the Atoll at that time.
During the interviews, the project team asked people about the most important things in their lives, their future dreams, their views on global warming, their message to the people who are causing the problems, and the things that make them most happy in their daily lives. These interviews were conducted with everyone over 5 years old.
It was an unforgettable moment when the team completed its project. The whole island and team became like one big family because the team members knew everyone in the island through the project. It is certain that the team would not have smoothly conducted its project without the heartwarming support of the people of Nukulaelae.
The team deeply appreciated the strong support of the late island chief, the Ulualiki of Nukulaelae, Mr. Malaki Mauga, deceased on May 31st, right after we left the island. The team wishes him a pleasant journey. The team also wishes to thank Mr. Lotonu Nukulasi's family in Nukulaelae who provided daily meals and support to the team, and to thank the pastor, members of the Kaupule as well as the Falekaupule, and all the people in the islands. We also wish to offer special thanks to Tuvalu Overview Funafutifs office staff Mr. Apinelu Tili and Mr. Shozo Tunashima, and a volunteer, Mr. Keigo Sugitani, for their support from Funafuti.
The team hopes to start the project again in another outer island early in 2008 if it gets enough funds.
In Tokyo, Japan, the 340 faces and voices of Nukulaelae have already been introduced at Endou's photo exhibit with the collaboration of J-WAVE, INC., a Tokyo-based FM radio station, from the 15th to 24th of June 2007. On the evening of June 17th, more than 100 people came to see the talk show of Endou and UA, a famous Japanese singer who visited Tuvalu in March 2007 for a J-WAVE radio program. And in Bali, Indonesia, another photo exhibit will take place at the UN conference on climate change in December 2007 in collaboration with the Government of Tuvalu.
Shuuichi Endou, Tuvalu Overview's President hopes that as many people as possible come and see the faces and voices of Tuvalu and start to think about the issues that the people in Tuvalu are facing. The 10,000 Faces Project involves the photographing of every Tuvaluan's face on all the islands and the gathering each person's profile. In addition, each person is interviewed to enable the bigger and powerful countries to understand what the people of Tuvalu are going through because of global warming and climate change effects, including sea level rise etc.
The NPO Tuvalu Overview is planning on showing the photos and voices of 10,000 Tuvaluans all over the world through photo exhibitions and lecture presentations. We welcome any kind of support for this project such as presenting opportunities to stage photo exhibits and providing financial assistance.
Lastly, we would like to offer special thanks to Patagonia, Inc. Japan branch for supporting our project in Nukulaelae.