Fogo Island - 11 islands in one

Map by Bjørn-K Hansen

Introducing the first site of our project:

Fogo Island. On the north-eastern outskirts of Newfoundland, 25 by 14 kilometers in area, surrounded by icebergs, snow crabs and whales. According to a popular advertisement "about as far away from Disneyland as you can get". For years sustained by fishing, until the cod-depletion struck in 1990s. From a peak of 5000 inhabitants, the number is today down to 2700. The people are separated in 11 communities, each with an identity so strong that they regard themselves close to 11 different islands. They each have their own town council, town hall, fire department, harbor, post office, cemeteries and churches.
Formerly each community even had its own school (sometimes even two schools, to serve both the catholic and protestant inhabitants).
In the middle of these communities, in a crossroad linking all the communities, a neutral zone has recently been established: Fogo Island Central. After years of unrest, a common school was established here in 1972 – the first in the whole Newfoundland to unite catholic and protestant pupils. After more struggle between the different communities, a new hospital was agreed on, relocated from the town of Fogo to the neutral zone in the center of the island. The hospital is the daily workplace of women from all of the Island’s communities, as well as three doctors from Libya, some of the very few immigrants on the island. While being a symbol of the difficult relationships between the different communities on Fogo Island, the neutral zone on the other hand may contain the beginning of the much needed unity and collaboration between the communities to sustain and develop Fogo Island in the future.

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