www.whyville.net Aug 9, 2009 Weekly Issue

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Welcome to Tuvalu!

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Author's Note: Congratulations to mayrocs, LowOnSoap and crazyinnc! They won 100 clams each for correctly answering the quiz in last week's article Welcome to Azerbaijan! (article id: 10535).

Welcome to Tuvalu! I am Silei (See-lay) Tafua (Ta-foo-ah), your tour guide for the rest of this article. We are currently situated in the little-known country of Tuvalu. By the end of this article, Tuvalu will not be little-known anymore because you will know about its flag, population, issues, cuisine, and everything that makes Tuvalu what it is. Let's begin our journey!



Formerly known as Ellice Islands, Tuvalu is the fourth smallest country in the world. Oceania is a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, between Hawaii and Australia. Tuvalu is located in Oceania. The weather is tropical all year round, with wind and heavy rain. Though Tuvalu is comprised of nine coral atolls, Tuvalu means "group of eight" which refers to the eight traditionally inhabited islands. The capital city is Funafuti.


Tuvalu has a population of just 12,373, making it the second least populated country in the world after Vatican City. The population is referred to as Tuvaluans. 96% of the population is Polynesian, while the rest is Micronesian. The majority of the population follows Christianity as directed by the Church of Tuvalu (Congregationalist and Seventh - day Adventist), followed by Baha'i. The languages spoken are Tuvaluan, English, Samoan and Kiribati. The average life expectancy is 69 years.

Currency - Tuvalu Dollar


Tuvalu was once a British colony and gained independence from the UK in 1978. This event is commemorated by Independence Day which occurs on October 1.


The only natural hazards are tropical storms, which are rare. The last natural hazard occurred in 1997, when three cyclones plagued the country. Tuvalu's main concern is the increase of greenhouse gas emissions which effect rising sea levels. The low-lying nation could be the first in the world inundated if the ocean level continues to rise. In 2000, the government made a plea to Australia and New Zealand to take in Tuvaluans if rising sea levels cause evacuation.

Tuvalu is said to be one of the least developed countries in the world. It lacks mineral resources and relies heavily on imported agriculture and fish for revenue. Tuvalu currently receives 10,000 tourists per year. However, tourism is developing due to the vast array of tropical lagoons. Furthermore, in 2000, the government signed a $50 million contract licensing Tuvalu's ".tv" country code for use as a worldwide domain name. This domain name is leased out for millions of dollars per year.

Tourist Attraction -- Funafuti Marine Conservation Area

Funafuti Marine Conservation Area is protected and fishing and hunting are forbidden. But it is open for visitors to snorkel, walk, picnic and bird-watch. The area contains five small islets. The islets themselves contain dense forests, palm trees, colonies of seabirds, and green turtles. Coral reefs on the islets are home to multicolored reef fish.


Cuisine in Tuvalu consists of fish, coconuts, and sweet dishes made of coconut or animal milk.


Entertainment in Tuvalu consists of traditional dancing, music and sports. The traditional dance of Tuvalu is fatele, which is depicted in the picture above. Also, the customary sport played in Tuvalu is kilikiti, which is similar to cricket. Kilikiti is played on the runway of Funafuti International Airport between flights. However, Tuvaluan boys are abandoning kilikiti for football. The following picture depicts a Tuvaluan man holding a kilikiti bat:

"Unless the world can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, Tuvaluans may not see out the century, at least not on their island home," says reporter Nick Squires of BBC News. Squires visited Tuvalu in 2006 "to report on the rising sea level issue and to see whether the country might become a 21st century Atlantis, visible in future only from a glass-bottomed boat."

A lot of people are ignorant about their greenhouse gas emissions. They don't fully grasp the concept that their environmentally wasteful behavior contributes to global destruction, especially to Tuvalu. Now that you know more about Tuvalu, hopefully you can behave in a more environmentally conscious manner, at least for the sake of Tuvaluans.

I hope you enjoyed your tour of Tuvalu. Remember to visit again!


Author's Note: Sources:


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