Erik and Claire celebrated the birth of their daughter Caitlin Mac Kenzie in the Camogli Hospital of Tristan da Cunha by posting, on January 19th, a couple blog entries with photos of the baby. In such a small community, it would not be surprising for the birth of a baby to be good news, but the charm of the story was the way the Tristan Islanders gave a lot of gifts to help the proud new parents. The story of a birth, and community support for the young family, may be quite ordinary, but it is a worldwide phenomenon nonetheless and it suggests the essence of peacefulness—as well as the generosity of that particular, isolated place.
Like most new parents, Erik and Claire are quite properly biased about their child: “Our gorgeous little girl, Caitlin, shook things up a little when she chose to arrive 10 days early on 10th January at 9:25 am,” they write.
They were clearly impressed by the giving spirit of the Tristan Islanders after the birth. “We have been overwhelmed this season by the generosity of the islanders with gifts of meat, potatoes and more eggs than we know what to do with. It was not unusual for us to come home and find two or three pieces of lamb on the kitchen table, along with a bucket of Tristan potatoes and 12 eggs. Our chest freezer is now full to the brim with lamb and our pantry is overflowing with potatoes in a variety of sizes. Caitlin has already been the lucky recipient of a few items of hand knitted clothing …”
The second of the two posts includes a couple photos of the baby girl. One has to presume that the parents don’t worry too much about kidnappers or child molesters on Tristan da Cunha, evils that discourage many people elsewhere from ever posting pictures of children on the Internet. The post also includes a picture of their bed, covered with gifts and clothing donated by the Islanders.
It closes with the brief story of the parents out for a walk with Caitlin along the beach—the baby’s first outing. The parents include a couple photos of rockhopper penguins they encountered along the way. But Caitlin missed the action—she was sound asleep.
In a third post, dated Tuesday the 23rd, Claire writes that her husband is the administrator of the crayfish factory on the island and she, in addition to caring for their baby, works for ESI, a publication that focuses on the electric industry of Africa. The two of them are among the seven expatriates living on Tristan.