Palau, here we come (again)!

On June 3rd we’re headed back to Palau! Back to the PCC dorms, with all the friendly faces, back to crystal blue waters, the jelly fish, the Flamingo with Soline and Bat soup… Ok, maybe one bat soup is enough in a person’s lifetime, but it will surely be great to see Soline again!

Last summer, Otis College of Art and Design took a group of students to Palau to design a Freedom Memorial for the Palauan People.

(A little history taken from last summer’s blog. More information on the past project can be found under the travel tab of this blog)

Palau, Palau /pəˈlaʊ/, officially the Republic of Palau (Palauan: Beluu er a Belau), is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, 500 miles (800 km) east of the Philippines and 2,000 miles (3,200 km) south of Tokyo.
Haven’t heard of Palau? No worries, you’re not alone. Having emerged from United Nations trusteeship in 1994, Palau is one of the world’s youngest and smallest sovereign states. With a population of a little over 20,000 people, this tiny country is of a similar size to the enrolled population at the University of California Santa Barbara (go Gauchos!). Palau’s economy consists primarily of tourism, subsistence agriculture, and fishing. In fact, if you have heard about Palau, you are probably either a Survivor fan (The 10th season of Survivor filmed in Palau) or a diver. Palau is one of the world’s premier diving locations, with its crystal blue waters and exotic fish, it’s pretty much like swimming in a life-sized aquarium. One of the most unique dive spots in Palau is Jelly Fish Lake. “Jellyfish Lake, departs radically from convention; for it is an enclosed body of water wherein – over the course of a millennia – resident jellyfish have completely lost their sting because they have not had to fight off predators. Instead, they spend their days in privileged leisure, pulsating gently from one side of the lake to the other while catching the sun’s rays and farming their own food supply of algae.” (Having now been there, I can say this description is no exaggeration, Jellyfish Lake is truly incredible.)

This summer we will be joined by 11 new students who took last year’s designs and compiled them into one cohesive design. The new group of students will then present their revised design to the Palaun people to receive feedback to make the final revisions before installation (hopefully a year or so down the road).

More on the Project:
In Palau, there are war memorials for Americans and there are war memorials for the Japanese; however, there are no memorials for the Palauans who have bravely fought and even given their lives towards to the pursuit of freedom. Palaun people serve more per capita in the American military then any other US state or protectorate. Our project with Palau looks to create a memorial to honor the Palauan people who have bravely fought in American wars.

Over the past 15 weeks students Otis students have researched Palau, the culture, the land, their arts and have worked together to construct ideas for a freedom memorial that they feel will not only represent the Palaun people, but be a source of pride for all that they have sacrificed.

Below is our tentative itinerary (subject to change with and without notice)

June 4th: Land in Palau 11:30pm.
June 5th: Jet lag/Orientation Day/School Tour/Tour of Koror
June 6th: Rehearsal/Preparation Day for Meetings
June 7th: Open Day/Diving Day
June 8th: 10 AM Meeting with arts and museum directors of Palau
June 9th: Rock Island Tour
June 10th: Peleliu Tour
June 11th: Stone Monoliths and Rock Quarry Tour
June 12th: Meet with the Government/President/Secretary of State
June 13th: 11:30AM Meeting with Patrick Tellei and present to Palau Community College
June 14th: Tentative OTV Interview
June 15th: Meeting with the Bilung at the Cultural Center
June 16th: Leave Palau at 4:20am (….Travel back in time and arrive in Los Angeles the same day!)

So book mark the site and join us on our Palaun adventure. I hope to keep up the daily blog again (and by daily I mean as often as the internet Gods will allow for!! Sometimes we lose connection and sometimes sleep also wins out.)

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