June 12, 2012 Leave a comment
Today was a big meeting day. Our first meeting was at the state building in Korror with the President of Palau, Johnson Toribiong , the Minister of State, Victor Yano and others from the presidential cabinet. Just like last year the President was very pleased with our progress and had a thoughtful response. President Toribiong talked about the long road Palau has been down, how they have swelled from a nation of only 5,000 people around WWII to nearly 20,000 people today and how they survived Spanish, German and Japanese occupation to finally become a sovereign nation less than 20 years ago; a memorial for the Palaun people is long overdue.
After a lunch break to Yanos market for some good Palaun food (and veggies yay veggies, we’re all severely missing veggies in our diets) it was time to present to the Council of Chiefs. Like England and Canada, Palau has both a democratic body and a traditional body of power. Unlike any other country I know of, the traditional side is divided equally with the lady’s (the matriarchs) and men’s (the council of chiefs) having one woman and one man representing each state of Palau. With each presentation the students are gaining more confidence, they’re looking at their notes less and one presenter flows seamlessly to the next. The chiefs LOVED the design, their first comment was, “I think they got it.” The chiefs were impressed and touched how the students really captured Palaun culture in their design, how thought out everything was and how functional. The chiefs asked “how long will it take and how much will it cost?” also acknowledging that a memorial for the Palaun people is long overdue.
The heat, time change, activity level and what nots are starting to wear on everyone, but presentations like these are reinvigorating! We spent an hour after the presentation discussing future plans of how to move forward and fundraising ideas. Not long before we were about to disburse for the evening Rich entered the room grinning with an envelope in hand. The Chiefs had given us a beautifully written letter announcing their official support of the project and their desire to help with our fundraising efforts.
Not long after we left our last meeting, a group of us picked up to go dinners from the cafeteria and trekked out to Sunset Park, for what else, a sunset. We quietly sat and watched the sun gently slip into the water leaving a trail of pink and golden behind; it was a nice way to polish off another amazing day in Palau.