Monday, March 14, 2022

Travel the World - Tuvalu

I started a 50-week series in 2019 that I called Travel the World. Each week of the series I visited a randomly-selected country, sharing bits of information about that country. I then chose one tidbit of information about that week's country as inspiration for a card. As I explored those 50 countries in 2019, I knew I would continue on until I've visited every one of the 195 countries in the world. By the end of 2021, I'd virtually traveled to 145 countries and plan to complete my journey to all 195 countries by visiting the last 50 this year.

This week's country is...


Tuvalu is a tiny collection of Pacific Islands just south of the Equator—they’re located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and technically located in Oceania. Tuvalu is located roughly halfway between Hawaii and Australia.

Its closest neighbors are the Solomon Islands to the west-southwest, Nauru to the northwest, Kiribati to the north, Tokelau to the east, Samoa and Wallis and Futuna to the southeast, and Fiji to the south.

The country consists of nine islands. The total coastline of the islands is only 15 miles.

While many island countries often have some islands that are coral atolls, there are only four countries in the world made up entirely of coral atolls; Tuvalu is one of them. The other three are Kiribati, Maldives, and Marshall Islands. Atolls are the remains of a volcano that has sunk below the surface of the water. The surrounding coral reef is all that remains of the former island. Atolls are long, narrow islands and are very close to sea level.

One of the downsides of being entirely comprised of coral atolls is that you aren’t very high above sea level. The highest point in the entire country is only 15 feet above sea level. That means if sea levels rise only a few feet, most of the country will be underwater.

The island of Funafuti has a single road which goes from one end of the narrow island to the other. On one side of the road is the ocean and on the other side is the lagoon.

By population, Tuvalu is the second smallest country in the world. 

The current population estimate for the country is 11,192. To put that into perspective, 23,000 people work at the Pentagon, which is a single building!

In land size, Tuvalu is third smallest in the world.

The Tuvaluans are Polynesian, and their language, Tuvaluan, is closely related to Samoan.

Most Tuvaluans live in villages of a few hundred people, tend their gardens, and fish from handcrafted canoes.

The country's climate is tropical; moderated by easterly trade winds (March to November); westerly gales and heavy rain (November to March).

A powerful hurricane once knocked down 90% of the trees on Tuvalu.

The Funafuti airport is right in the middle of town and receives about three flights per week. When a plane lands in Tuvalu, a siren sounds so everyone can get off the runway.

Tuvalu is gorgeous from the air. 

The country only has one hotel and one real guest house. Those are also the only restaurants in the country.

There are only 5 miles of roads in the entire country.

Not surprisingly, there is no railroad in Tuvalu.

Tuvalu does not take credit cards. Literally, no where in the country. The entire country operates on a cash only basis.

There is also no ATM in Tuvalu.

The capital is Funafuti; it covers an area of 0.9 square miles and has a population of 6,000.

With only 2,000 visitors per year, Tuvalu is the least visited country in the world.

The island enjoys little crime and a low terror threat and doesn’t have armed forces.

Tuvalu has one hospital, Princess Margaret Hospital, which is located on the main island of Funafuti. 

Healthcare in the country is free.

People in Tuvalu bury the dead in the yard, right near the house.

There are no natural rivers or streams in Tuvalu, so the rainwater is collected for drinking water.

Because the soils in Tuvalu are porous, agriculture is limited. Coconut palms thrive, and breadfruit trees, pandanustaro, and bananas are grown. Pigs and chickens are raised, and seabirds, fish, and shellfish are caught for food.

A traditional sport played in Tuvalu is kilikiti, which is similar to cricket.

Ano is another popular sport played in Tuvalu. It is a localized version of volleyball and is played with two hard balls made from pandanus leaves. These balls are volleyed at great speed with the team members trying to stop the Ano hitting the ground.

One can snorkel around the glorious Tuvaluan coral reefs alongside dolphins, whales, and various kinds of fish.

The waters of Tuvalu are turquoise and the beaches boast white sand.

The country's economy is based on fishing.

Tuvalu has no endemic species of mammal, although early settlers brought micerats and dogs with them.

My inspiration for this week's card is based on this fact about Tuvalu... The entire country has only one primary school and one high school.

Here's the inside of my card:

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp Set: Picket Fence Good Teacher stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Paper: Neenah 110# Solar White and SU Bumble Bee CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies: MFT Stitched Rectangle and Paper Roses Stitched Circles

Embellishments: Eyelet Outlet Books Brad and other Brads from unknown vendors


kiwimeskreations said...

What a wonderful wee country Jeanette - thanks for highlighting it :). Love your card - that's a great one for a teacher
Stay safe

Barb said...

This card just makes me smile and reminds me of your sweet daughter!