This is the way you say “Hello”, “Love” or “Goodbye” in Marshallese. But directly translated, “Iakwe” (or “Yokwe”) means “You are a rainbow”.
And this deeper meaning says so much about their culture.
|Rainbow over Arno lagoon|
After only a few days of being on the islands, you can quickly see how the rainbow has become a cornerstone of their language. Frequent tropical rain showers give way to beautiful rainbows over the turquoise waters.
Although somehow I captured so few pictures of these beautiful rainbows, their beauty remains clear in my memory.
But that’s not what has really stuck with me from this trip. It’s the people and their incredible generosity.
I want to say “Kommol tata” (“thank you very much”) to Tamara, Karl, Cary, Rodney, Tanta, Kalena, Flo, Emma (and the other MIMRA folks!) for making our work possible. An especially big thanks to Tamara, who was instrumental in helping us make local connections and arrangements!
Can’t wait to work with you all more next year!!