Day 5: Today the Freedom Memorial came to Life

The day started with a trip to Long Island, to what is quickly becoming our morning ritual swim. We took a leisurely swim, watched the fish and relaxed a bit before it was time to get to work.


After lunch we met to go through a final rehearsal for the first presentation, which was a big presentation at that. For the first time the students were presenting, they were presenting to the Bieljun (the equivalent of Palau’s Queen) and the other Matriarchs. Palau is a matriarchal society, so this presentation was the biggie!

I’m not sure how to sum up the presentation, other than to say: Otis, be proud! The students did fantastic! The designs for the Freedom Memorial were extremely well received, but what was even better was the heartfelt input the Matriarchs had for the students. The presentation itself took about half an hour, but the ladies stayed another close to two hours going through different elements of the design and telling the students how they could make it more Palaun. The students were impressed right back at how well the ladies were able to analyze and articulate the design elements. Furthermore, Palau has an amazingly rich history; however it is mostly oral, making it very difficult to get your facts right from America or books you can find in America about Palau. Our American books become like a written down version of telephone and it was very interesting to hear from the history-makers the differences in the literature that the students had studied. By the end of it all, many of the students were literally shaky with excitement; all were inspired. I think this was the first time the project became real to everyone; the entire group was on an exhilaration high of what we are doing here in Palau and what it will mean to the Palaun people. Leaving the presentation room, people were remarking how today was one of their best days….ever! I guess that’s the best way my jet-lagged self can describe what happened today.


After a brief decompression moment, changes to the project for tomorrow’s presentation were discussed and then it was time to celebrate! For dinner, the entire group of students went to the Taj, an amazing Indian restaurant (one of my favorites from last year) about a block away from the PCC campus. The students are so much fun to travel with. I love how inclusive they are with everyone and how willing to share with each other they are. Meal times have been so much fun with everyone sharing food and getting to know each other a little better.


Ok, so I went upstairs to the common room and there were the students also working away in their pj’s and swimsuits, taking the input from the matriarchs and making the changes to their presentation… Yep, they rock!


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One Response to Day 5: Today the Freedom Memorial came to Life

  1. Allison, thank you for providing updates about your trip. This is really thrilling. Cassandra Roy

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