Pikanini is a Pidgin English word that means Child.
I have been slowly connecting with my own stories over the past few years, coming to understand that this connection to the rich cultures and landscapes of tropical postcolonial places is extremely significant in my life. I have begun to realise that I relate to the world as the white child in amongst colour, just as I was a youngster in Papua New Guinea. I am in amongst it, a part of it and yet apart from it.
This has been true of many places I have lived, even the ones I connect most strongly with. I always try to understand what makes people 'belong' to a place, at what point are they 'from there', and not somewhere else. People always ask me where I am from, and i don't really know what to answer. I wish I could say Norfolk Island, because that is the place I feel strongest about, but the community there would laugh at me.
I think there is a balance between connection to place and a connection to community and culture, that results in belonging, or not belonging. But perhaps how long it takes to form that connection, and for the connection to be reciprocated is the key.
People have this construct of localism, where people can be in a place 20 years, and are still 'newcomers'. Add in a bit of racial difference, and it's harder still. We are all guilty of it. All guilty of assumptions of 'from somewhere else'. It makes it even harder for people to connect to places and to be accepted and treated equally in the community.
I think a sense of displacement and disconnection is something that an increasing amount of people can relate to in a global society, with mobile jobs, and more families living internationally. Children grow up with scattered roots, and with connections to multiple places.
The way people respond to that sense of no connection, or multiple connection is interesting. For many of us it breeds a restlessness and a curiousity, the 'rolling stone' metaphor is often used. I think despite this restlessness though, is definately a yearning to connect or belong to somewhere.
Personally, I wish there was a 'citizen of the world' passport, a UN passport for civilians. I'd sign up, because my roots are scattered, and I feel connection to more than one place in the world.