Starting the day with a morning boat trip to Ebiil Channel. Ebiil Channel is a marine protected site in the northern part of Palau established in 2000. It’s an important site for the spawning of Bumphead Parrotfish.
Picture below are some of the interesting animals we encountered on our snorkeling adventure
After lunch we headed to a local taro patch where we learned about its traditional significance. An elder of the village taught us about farming techniques and the importance of the keeping the tradition.
We put coconut oil onto our arms and legs to prevent irritation from the taro plants. While we were doing this, we talked about legends associated with the taro patches. One of the legends created a rule where if you forget something at the field, you do not return for it. This was created from a tale of a woman returning to the field for something she forgot and found the field had turned into a lake.
Some of the rules that are followed in the taro patch are that women are the only ones who take care of taro and that you are only allowed to walk in the irrigation path ways. It was believed that not walking in the water ways would curse you or curse the plants.
A traditional field has three different purposes. One part of the field was partitioned for the elder man of the family, one part was partitioned for customs which were funerals and first birth ceremonies, and one part of the field was partitioned for the community and those who didn’t have food.
We were listening to the elder, Ulang, seated on the right, about the history of the field. She said the field had been there since the beginning and that her mother planted in the field and her mother’s mother had planted in the field.
Junior Yalap ( Palau High School, Auto mechanic major, Graduating Spring 2021, Pacific Academic Institute for Research)
Savannah Hesidence (Oregon State University, Marine Biology and Environmental Sciences major, Graduating Spring 2022)