Earlier this week I met workers from Taveuni’s first desalination plant, installed earlier this year. We’re pictured here across the street from the worksite, relaxing on their afternoon off. Our conversation went something like this:

me: “How does the desalination process work?”
them: “We don’t really know. People from the states gave the money and we put the pipes together. Two men died in the process.”
me: “Oh, god.”
them: “Do you want to go swimming later?”

We didn’t have a snorkeling mask, but I could see the big, blue, interlocking cylinders sucking the sea into drum-like filters. The lower half of Taveuni is often without drinking water, and part of me is buoyed by the hope that Water Authority projects like this can make a real difference in people’s lives.

The death in the workplace bit makes my stomach churn, though. At what cost?


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