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Paradise or Bust (BBC2): Tribewanted part 4

Paradise or Bust (BBC2): Tribewanted part 4

Paradise or Bust (BBC2): Tribewanted part 4

Three months after the Fijian military coup that will, for me at least, forever be associated with a bizarre four day delay for a rugby match, Ben Keene is evidently more confident of the Tribewanted project's future. Last night's 'Paradise or Bust' (BBC2) showed us the island of Vorovoro at last beginning to see the benefits of investment, as the local villagers improve their lot with fluorescent lighting, TV and DVD entertainment. Tellingly, Ben explains how his romantic vision of lighting by hurricane lamp contrasts with the local islanders' immediate purchase of strip lighting and generators. Monsoon season arrives, bringing tropical cyclone 'George' which hits the Tribewanted settlement pretty hard, thankfully sparing the beautiful central Bure house. Some targeted marketing aimed at backpackers certainly brought some much needed cash and help in the form of twenty or so twenty-somethings; however the online tribe again are noticeable more for their absence than their central role in the project. Oh wait.. no, hold your horses.. The rationale for the programme appears to have been remembered. Online, the forum members are concerned that the rise in visitor numbers will affect the balance of the paradise island. The online Tribe's fear is that a holiday camp atmosphere would begin to eclipse the Fijian culture predominant in the settlement so far. I can't say I blame them - they must've seen the home movies. Tribewanted appears to have turned into party-time for wide-eyed, happy-clappy backpackers. I reach for the fast-forward control. Is this really where the project has been heading? Drunken 'revelry' is new to the island of Vorovoro. I use the term loosely; things are clearly quite well-mannered and restrained as you might expect from a group of students on a bit of a gad-about before Uni. Before the Tribe descended there was no alcohol at all on the island and the locals are concerned that a modest balance is maintained. I think Ben must have lost his balance though because of a sudden he's in the mainland hospital having two operations on his broken little toe. Details appear sketchy on this one but it's implied that the injury was alcohol induced. Ben notes later, after a bottle of wine is apparently stolen, that the Tribewanted project is more about the meeting of two cultures than the building of a village. One is almost tempted, if one were in a suitably melodramatic mood, to invoke the allegory of the serpent entering the garden; and the local boys are grounded in an attempt to prevent further nocturnal misbehaviour. Another remarkable build took place in the month while Ben was away with his toe - a huge water tank to store valuable rain water. But oh, the irony.. the local builders had used all the drinking water from the old smaller water tank to make the cement needed to build the new water tank! Ben reaches for the cheque book again and for the second time orders a barge-full of drinking water from the mainland. At $1000 a go you can understand why this is a last-minute option. Paradise or Bust concludes next Monday 9pm BBC2

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