Polynesian ingenuity, progress and church!

Avatoru, Rangiroa, Tuamotu, French Polynesia

Welcome to the big city of the Tuamotu,

Did you see that?  A paved road!  We’ve seen paved roads before in the islands but now we start putting this information together.  How do you make a paved road on a remote desert island…well concrete requires sand, rocks, fresh water and cement.  Cement you have to import on the boat, no surprise there.  Fresh water can be harvested from the rain; take a while but do-able.  Sand can come from the beaches but rocks…rocks are a bit of stumbling point.  In the Marquesas they had mountains of rocks (literally) to turn into roads but in the Tuamotu, their land is not made up of rock anymore and shipping in tons of rocks can get expensive.  So what is an islander to do except improvise?

And while we’re on the topic of logistics, Greg ran into something that seems out of place in the islands: a graveyard.  Yes, we understand that people die (heck, they did a lot of dying not so long ago) but it’s where they go when they die that concerns me, and not in the spiritual sense either.

We’ve already made it clear that there isn’t a whole heck of a lot of real estate out here.  Also, Catholic doctrine is pretty clear on the matter: no cremation.  So how long will it be before these people are deciding between housing for the living and housing for the dead?

Speaking of the Catholic Church, they have one here and it’s gorgeous.

Did you see that tabernacle?  It was the tiny little castle up on the altar at the beginning of the video.  (For the uninitiated: Tabernacle is the little box they keep the blessed bread in.  So in the minds of us Catholics this is the place where the physical presence of Jesus resides.) In the states, you find a lot of tabernacles made out of precious materials like gold & silver.  Here they don’t have stuff like that so what they lack in metal they make up for in expert craftsmanship & skill.

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