There were several requirements, including a basic one – an unique project for Poland and its affairs. At this point, I wondered what kind of project I could submit, as a historian and as a person being engaged for a decade in Australia and Oceania region. I have had one idea in my mind for years. How to find out more about Poland, the village located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? On that day, I combined the two ideas together. I’ll deal with Polish affairs in the project to the office of the President of Poland. Naturally, I meant affairs of Poland – the one placed in Kiribati.

But what we know about Poland village in our home country? Generally nothing, apart from a few newspaper articles and mentions in publications of Polish travelers such as Olgierd Budrewicz. Therefore, we provide you with some basic information. Poland is a village located in the country called Kiribati, which consists of 33 islands and atolls. The largest one is Kiritimati, also called Christmas Island, discovered by English navigator James Cook on Christmas Eve, 1777. It is the largest island of the country and along with the lagoon it constitutes more than 70% of the territory of Republic of Kiribati. The village of Poland is located exactly there. The history of the settlement have not yet been thoroughly investigated, and I hope I will deal with it in Poland helps Poland project. The second part of the project is to help the inhabitants of the village, whose name is so connected to our home country. Therefore, the basis of a humanitarian and science project arose in my mind.

From the very beginning, I was aware that Poland is not a country rich enough to help the entire Republic of Kiribati, which belongs to the poorest countries in the world. However, our country is wealthy enough to help a village, which is a Polish trail in the central part of the Pacific Ocean. The only question is whether Poland will help Poland? I will try to check it in the project Poland helps Poland.

Initially, when I was sharing my idea on how to help Poland, people around me listened with incredulity. It caused a slight smile on the faces of some listeners, which meant their doubt in the reality of what I say. Others, immediately took it as a joke or were sure that the project is unable to conduct. January 2012 was a trial period for me, whether I am able to defend my idea when a lot of my friends believed it was doomed to failure. I had too little time to collect the required documents and in result the project was not submitted to the office of the President of Poland. But at that point, my Polish character distinguished, which could be described with the statement: “Will I not manage it? No way, I will”. I knew that feeling from the time of my study, when everyone kept saying that it is impossible to write a thesis on the Polish children from Pahiatua (the subject of Polish orphans deported to Siberia and their way to New Zealand during the Second World War was not known closer in Poland at that time). In 2007 I published a book about it. Then, many people of good will, organizations and individuals contributed to the success. I hope that it will be the same in the case of my project, and Poland will help Poland and will get familiar with the history of the village.

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Illustrations from author’s archive.

Read also:

Project Poland helps Poland. Part 2 – Preparing for the journey

Project Poland helps Poland. Part 3 – Visiting Kiritimati

Autor: Dariusz Zdziech

Photo © Dariusz Zdziech

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