ADB asked 3 young futurists to take the foresight report Reimagining the Future of Transport across Asia and the Pacific (ADB 2022) and immerse themselves in the future visions of the report. What stories would they be able to tell?

Asked to imagine the transport experiences of two fictional personas, Amerita Ravuvu (Fiji) introduces us to Vili and Repeka. In this video, Amerita shares snippets from her future narratives, reflects on her experience and her view of Fiji’s future as one of many island nations in the Pacific that have rural communities in the hinterland and on remote islands.

Transcript

Traversing the highlands of Viti-Levu - Fiji’s biggest island and main island - in Fiji more commonly known as ‘Colo’ has always been likened to going to heaven because one is going up.

Vili recalls vividly the stories by his late paternal grandfather regarding the difficulties of travelling from his village in his former years in the provincial highlands and how much still remains unchanged.

For Vili’s character, it partly based I guess, on the lived experiences of my late paternal grandfather, he's just an example of many who've made it out of the village and who, you know, made the city, their home, and who recollect their stories of the challenges of travel for them going to school when they were much younger

You know, it triggered me to write about this, because a lot of what, you know, he had this, he had told us, a lot of it hasn't quite changed. And when you travel back and forth to a rural area, a lot of these things you can still identify with. And so it's like time has stood still.

When I was first given the assignment, and when I was reading through the the 2030 strategy, I think one of the things that struck me was a lot of the divisions that are articulated, there are great, but I find that in our social, you know, geographic realities here in Oceania, it is there's a huge disparity between the way visions are articulated and the conditions on the ground and I really wanted to give voice you know, to the interaction between transport and everyday life for the grassroots, particularly for our rural and maritime dwellers.

Repeka’s first introduction to Kadavu (where her mother is from) was in the year 2000 when she went to bury her maternal grandmother. And wasn’t this an experience to remember! Like many islanders, she experienced for the first time travelling in a vessel that was dangerously over-crowded, where boarding alone took 6 hours, the waiting area was far from comfortable with people braving the humidity, a big blow and rain, passengers outnumbered lifejackets, if you can find them, and where there were no safety announcements at all. The boat departed the harbour at midnight and took at least 8 hours to arrive at the bay in front of her mother’s village.­­­­­

Repeka was based on me and my first time travel to my, my mother's Island and how shocked I was at the conditions of travel. But the difficulties of getting there and it was an eight hour trip. But because we still have family who live out, you know, in these areas, that relationship you can almost, you know, feel what they go through. And so that came out very strongly in the narrative.

The struggle I had when I was trying to develop a future narrative. I was asking myself, is this supposed to be an idealised vision? But then as I went into crafting the narrative, and as I did more, I guess, background reading on the current trends that are shaping transport in Oceania. I was actually surprised that how some of the considerations in the strategy have already been allocated for by national governments. I'm cautiously optimistic that the futures of Vili and Repeka will be improved.

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