Loneliness of a Long Distance Archivist

Today is Sunday. And on Sundays in the South Pacific, the sidewalks roll up. The streets are quiet, and the hustle and bustle of the central market takes a much-needed rest for twenty-four hours, as seen by this picture:

If you stand in the middle as the wind blows,  you can hear the typical buzz that usually accompanies the market during normal working hours. It’s a little eerie. I swear. But, on Sundays in Honiara there’s really not much to do. With most of the idyllic islands out here, you can waste away at a beach, or lagoon, and daydream the day away. Not so much in Honiara. World War II buffs can make a pilgrimage to local battle fronts where American and Japanese forces first collided on land.

As for me, I went to church. I go for the mass, but I stay for the music. In the South Pacific the singing during service is absolutely beautiful, and along with the sunlight streaming through dirty, stained, or tinted windows of the church, it creates an utterly ethereal experience. I imagine that it would be close to impossible to capture it on film. I guess you just have to be there.

Speaking of church, last week I met very briefly with Bishop Terry Brown who has taken on the responsibility of cataloging and reorganizing the Anglican Church of Melanesia Archives.

He told me a little about the archives, and expressed his concerns regarding preservation of his very extensive photograph collection which dates back to the 1800s. Some of these photos he digitized and posted them on the Project Canterbury site:


About islandculturearchivalsupport

Island Culture Archival Support (ICAS) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of records pertaining to the cultural identity of island peoples in Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia whose national and public archives, libraries, cultural centers, and business organizations are underprivileged, underfunded, and understaffed. The specific purpose for which this nonprofit corporation was formed is to support the needs of these South Pacific cultural heritage institutions by helping to preserve and make accessible records created for business, accountability or cultural purposes. The organization will endeavor to add value by providing resources or volunteers to advise, train, and work among island residents to support their efforts in building their future and preserving their collective memory through the use of modern archival techniques.
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