BY ALFRED PAGEPITU
“IT is an event where our Ijo-Maringi Communities celebrate their Culture and History, and to use this knowledge to inform and strengthen themselves about Sustaining and Conserving the Environment in our Village,” said Chief William Giroi.
This is an approach deliberately aimed at raising consciousness among ourselves about our environment, our livelihood and development.
In an interview with Chief William Giroi last week, he said the Ijo Maringi festival celebrated on last week brings communities from Gizo and the other islands and share with them this consciousness and celebration.
He said that this is how they have their permanent theme for this festival at: Conserved Culture Conserves Environment.
Giroi said the Saeragi House of Chief host this festival every year – at the end of September or Octomber.
He said in this part of the country, the high-tide period in this time of the year is at day time and even the low tides at night the sea level is not low enough like low tides in the other periods of the year.
Giroi said September-October period is the time of the year where the sea-level rise impacts of Climate Change are witnessed most evidently against our shores here.
“Most importantly for the history here, this period of the year is the opposite season of the year to the season when the people of this island were annihilated by headhunting – that was in the season of low-tide during the day time, as we all witnessed in our Opening Drama.
“This is the 4th year of our hosting this Ijo-Maringi Festival this year 2018.
“We faced many challenges as we develop this festival, but we take all these as part of our learning as Communities and especially our Festival Committee.”
He added that we learn and we strive to improve and strengthen this event to be one of the flagship events for Western Province and for the Country.
Giroi said some comments have been made about giving funding support to this event as a means of getting government money especially into Saeragi village.
“I must explain that in these last three years our villages here have worked very hard to fundraise, seek other kinds of assistance, made gardens and worked to build and maintain our villages. so that we can prepare ourselves to bring in Communities from Gizo and the other surrounding islands to take part in our festival.
“We transport them her and back, we accommodate them, we feed them, we give them an opportunity to highlight their cultures, we give them the opportunity to demonstrate shows and skills that uplift their pride in themselves.
“In these last three years our communities here have worked very hard to provide these services and benefits to a number of communities in our surrounding islands. And it cost us time, money and effort, at the community and personal level.
“This year we have Nusa Baruku. We have communities over from Ranongga, and communities from Vella La Vella, We worked hard and prepared ourselves to service and benefit these groups and communities from these islands.
“Any government fund that can be given to assist us does not go to our villages here. Such help and support contribute to our servicing and benefiting these communities and islands that we bring in to this festival.
“Our heavy cost and the effort and time we put together in our communities to make this Ijo-Maringi Festival, not because of Self-Pity but to illustrate that this Festival costs us in our communities here and costs us personally. But we do this because we believe in what we are doing, because we want to do this, and because we enjoy doing this. And the support funding we get from government is a fraction of our cost, and it helps us to service and benefit the communities from Gizo and from our surrounding islands.”