Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Global Challenge: It all ends with Nauru

Lee Miller poses in front of a Japanese anti-aircraft gun left over from World War II. He visited Nauru in 2008.

 

We did it! CNN has officially approved an iReport from every country in the world.

 

It came down to Nauru, the world’s smallest republic.

 

Lee Miller, 32, of San Francisco, heard about the challenge on Monday and uploaded his snapshots from a 2008 trip to the tiny South Pacific island just below the equator.

 

Miller, who has a background in international relations, said he had read about “pretty much every country” and finally discovered Nauru, a country he felt was rarely spoken of or heard about.

 

Sitting on a beach where one could go hours without seeing another human being, he basked in the feeling that he was “on the edge of the world.”

 

Nauru has had its share of struggles. The country, population 9,267, once enjoyed great wealth from mining phosphate for fertilizer, but those resources are nearly exhausted, and Miller observed dilapidated homes and beaches strewn with garbage.

 

“It’s a really sad story because it wasn’t that long ago that Nauruans were driving around in Ferraris. … It used to be one of the richest countries in the world,” Miller said.

 

But there was a lot more about the country waiting to be seen. Miller recalled “breathtaking scenery” and touching moments with locals. The owner of the island’s only hotel noticed him wearing a Barack Obama T-shirt and insisted on paying for the rest of his stay. Another time, when he got sick, a Nauruan bus driver who worked at the hotel took him to a store and bought him medicine.

 

Visitors rarely come to the island, and Miller said he was treated like a celebrity.

 

“Overall, I had a great experience and met a lot of great people,” Miller said in his iReport. “For this, I would go back. If the Nauruans cleaned up their country just a bit though, it would have amazing potential to bring in tourists.”

 

Miller said he plans to return to Nauru with his brother in 2011.

 

Throughout the iReport Global Challenge, as we have called our quest, we've gotten a glimpse into life in the tiniest and most unexplored pockets of the world. We heard about Tuvalu, an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean that has become the face of global climate change. We were taken aback by Djibouti's other-worldly scenery, which appears in the 1968 film "Planet of the Apes." We’ve learned so much about places that are rarely talked about. Check out some of the latest contributions.

25 Comments
December 7, 2010
Click to view dexmorg's profile

The Nauru have not forgotten us.

December 7, 2010
Click to view 771034Bonnie's profile

Congratulations, iReport. You did it, ahead of schedule and I had every confidence you would!

December 7, 2010
Click to view boatz143's profile

i would love to go to that island also. matter of fact, i would like to visit Batan, wake island and midway too!! wonder how mush a trip like that would cost??

December 7, 2010
Click to view CyberSafe's profile

Yes Ireport is global, and still 99.99% of all the reports are absolute garbage!

December 7, 2010
Click to view RasterMaster's profile

@CyberSafe: Garbage or not, seems like they can count on you reading them, even taking the time to comment.

December 7, 2010
Click to view Flipper5's profile

Nice!

December 7, 2010
Click to view tjackets's profile

there are two hotels on Nauru

December 7, 2010
Click to view tyson's profile

WooHoo!

December 7, 2010
Click to view knowevery's profile

Ps - reaching out to North Korea has worked brilliantly hasn't it?  How about reaching out to radical Islam?  How's that working out?

December 7, 2010
Click to view TrustNothing's profile

“For this, I would go back. If the Nauruans cleaned up their country just a bit though, it would have amazing potential to bring in tourists.”

 

How about more tangible infrastructure upgrades that could support tourists? I'm sure if they could, they would clean up their trash.

December 7, 2010
Click to view conoclast's profile

Amazing!! The topic is an idyllic little island and you politico's just can't stop spitting & fuming!  Nobody cares any more what you think of Obama; does repeating the vitriol make you feel better somehow?  The country is in a dangerous funk; I'd much rather hear about islands...

December 7, 2010
Click to view Saresudog's profile

This just confirms how far in the crapper we've gone.  Idiocracy is on its way.  Subject is about an island that's been sadly stripped and trashed...and it turns into a divisive debate about stupidity politics...Rome is burning...again

December 7, 2010
Click to view Jaywer's profile

Leave it to a Republican to open his mouth and drag even a topic like this into a one sided debate. I still dont understand why they blame the left for so much hatred when its obvious who is the aggressor with discussions like this. I like the lazy remark though. That guys right. Lazy does obviously rule since laziness got away with political black male and forced the Bush era tax cuts back into play making the lazy rich Republicans more rich. Meanwhile, we working class pay for their wars and bickering in the White House with the money THEY take in taxes from US!

 

Any way, Nauru is pretty much screwed. They cant get any tourism booming cause not only did they exhaust their money making resource but they exhausted all others and the lands so polluted from the mining it supposedly can no longer sustain enough healthy edible vegetation for food. The waters polluted and cant harbor much aquatic life from the vessels doing the exporting of the phosphates.

 

All Naurus food and some other resources come from outside the nation.

December 7, 2010
Click to view JOHNNYCOLT's profile

HUGE !!!! iReport how amazing

December 7, 2010
Click to view JOHNNYCOLT's profile

Also Nauru lost the lions share of the countries Trust to bad investment. The trust was to support the population after phosphate ran out.

 

the comments on this post are funny

December 7, 2010
Click to view DIAFCNN's profile

CNN, why don't you do your jobs instead of giving undeserved publicity to these wannabe "iReporters"?

December 7, 2010
Click to view im1ru1's profile

"We did it! CNN has officially approved an iReport from every country in the world."

"Lee Miller, 32, of San Francisco, heard about the challenge on Monday and uploaded his snapshots from a 2008 trip to the tiny South Pacific island just below the equator."

So the question is...did they want an iReport FROM every country, or just one ABOUT every country, because if they wanted one FROM every country, I call this a FAIL

December 7, 2010
Click to view paradox84's profile

So CNN also has an 'iReporter' in North Korea?

December 7, 2010
Click to view rob2tall's profile

In the event those here are finger pointing Dem VS Republican-both of you are morons-the article has nothing to do with politics-its about a tiny island nation..leave your finger pointing comments on the stories about either president Bush or Obama..Good grief-get a life!

December 7, 2010
Click to view kydutchman's profile

should be ireport spams the world... with its BS

December 8, 2010
Click to view jaysunstar's profile

Believe or not folks, some people don't even know who our president is. When I lived in China, I was shocked that some people never heard of New York or California. There are still places in the world that never even heard of the United States, let alone who our president is. Nor do they care. The world doesn't revolve around us as much as we would like to think so.

December 8, 2010
Click to view allover321's profile

Thank you to the few of you who actually discussed Nauru! Some of you even offered suggestions on how they might improve things for themselves. Thank you for that. I met some very nice people when I was there, and I would very much like to see them and their country get back on their feet.

December 8, 2010
Click to view visionsof's profile

allover321 as a minor in history in college I must admit the story was fascinating, as well the as the history of the continent itself.

 

As you said it's both sad and inspiring, someday I may make a trip myself if I find the time. Thanks for what you shared!

December 8, 2010
Click to view visionsof's profile

I'm not sure why I said continent lol...I mean't island, finals are starting to wear on me.

December 8, 2010
Click to view Sherbien's profile

congratulations ireportland!!!!

You must be logged in to post a comment.



About the iReport Blog

The latest and greatest on CNN iReport, brought to you by Team iReport.