The geography of this island can describe the situation for the locals. Home is a placid lagoon which, when the sun is right, the sea, sand, and reefs combine to make a spectacular shimmering blanket of blue, white and tan. It is paradise, in all its cliched, tropical glory. Home is enclosed by a coral reef sheltering a lagoon, much of which has been protected as a marine reserve.
The Cook Islands is a foundling economy heavily reliant on aid, tourism, and remittances. An entire generation is absent, driven unwillingly out of the country to find jobs and a better future. Despite this, they smile, place tropical flowers in their hair, and cheerfully serve and share their home with the thousands of strangers who come to visit all year round. I watched the waves break every day and night on those reefs, crashing and churning. The waves never stopped coming and they never stopped pounding. And yet, try as they might, they never caused more than a mere ripple in the lagoon.
♥ For more of my Rarotonga pictures (digital, Fuji instax, Lomo underwater 35 mm, and Polaroid), visit my Flickr set 33 Kilometres in Rarotonga ♥