Kosrae State, FSM - August 1999
August 18 to 21, 1999
August 18. The countdown until my departure has begun. I packed boxes and boxes and boxes of my stuff last night. Most of it was either files or books, and there are, surprisingly, a lot of them. At the office today, Nena and I packed the Walung midden materials and artifacts to ship to the university. Then Nena, Berlin, Lupalik and I went to Utwe to pick up my canoe.
Finished canoe with rigger
Finished canoe --- side view
Canoe interior, paddle, and bailer
Kosrae State Historic Preservation Officer, Berlin Segrah, inspects the paddle
Felicia Beardsley and Clyde Nena
Lupalik preparing to load the canoe
Lupalik, Berlin, and Nena tie the canoe on the truck
The shipping container is not ready for packing yet (we found that out this morning); nonetheless, we told Clyde we would pick up the canoe today, and that is exactly what we did. It is as done as it will get here; when I get it home, we will varnish and paint it to protect the wood. This will be particularly important, given the drastic change in climate to which this canoe will be subjected.
It went onto the back of the office truck, along with Nena and Lupalik as the extra security to hold it in place and keep it from slipping. Berlin and I rode up front. Unfortunately for the guys, we also went through the heaviest rainstorm for the day; in fact, it was the only time it rained. They got wet and cold, I think, because there was also a very strong wind that carried the rain onshore.
Until the container is ready to pack; the canoe will sit inside the office. Blocking the door.
August 19. "Parties are my favorite sport," Angunis said as she brought tray after tray after tray of food into the office. This was her intermediary stop before continuing to Berlin's, where the office was throwing a party in my honor to say goodbye and thank you (her son is in the photo at left). I was touched just at the mere thought of a party in my honor; it is a first for me. This was also supposed to be an opportunity for me to meet the wives of the office staff, so I could meet everyone related in some fashion to the office. Staff from the Director's office were also supposed to come, but they got called away to an emergency meeting of some sort. So, we waited for the meeting to end and for the Director and his staff to make an appearance.
In the meantime, Kerrick pulled out a checkerboard and a set of checkers that consisted of a series of bottle caps, buttons, and coral pebbles. The checkers (well, all but two) must have disappeared some time ago. I have definitely gained a new appreciation of checkers! Kerrick is the champion from Tafunsak; but the others are quite good as well. The games were fast and furious, with leaps across the checkerboard so swiftly made that the route was completely bypassed in deference to the straighter, point-to-point jump. Yet, checkers disappeared in those leaps. Kerrick was kind enough in those moves to illustrate the jump in its full details.
The food arrives
Faafaa and lobster
As it was getting to be rather late in the day, Berlin decided we would start the party regardless of the presence of the Director's office. So we did. The food was brought out, I was presented with a certificate of appreciation from the State in an informal ceremony, and we then began eating and eating and eating. Parties here are feasts. There was enough food on the table to feed an army; all ten or so of us were unable to make even a dent in the amount of food present. There was rice, taro, breadfruit, bananas, different kinds of meats from pork to chicken to fish; there was also lobster, faafaa (a local poi; this one was made from taro and bananas and covered in coconut milk. There are different kinds of faafaa, but Berlin said this is the best with fish; it was really good, too), and cake and cream pies. I ate so much, I felt like I was ready to explode.
Berlin and Felicia --- a certificate of appreciation
In parting, we each got a huge tray of food. This is so we can snack at midnight and through the early morning hours (Kosraean custom).
These are wonderful people, so very kind, considerate and quiet. At the certificate presentation, the guys were asked to stand up and say something (part of the custom); no one did, but then they are all so very shy that I honestly didn't think they could even bring themselves to speak in front of the others. The party broke up a little early; everyone, I think was simply tired. It had been a long wait for the Director, who never showed, and his staff.
Tomorrow, we load the boat into a container.
August 20. Today is a day for packing -- everything. We loaded the canoe into the container at the dock this morning, along with everything else I am sending home. When the door was shut, I closed the lock; that will be the last time I see those things until I get home.
The docks at the shipping point
The canoe in its container
The container will be filled with my household goods, too. I will not need much for my remaining time in Micronesia. It doesn't make sense to carry everything back to Yap for the four weeks of training there.
August 21. Like Sinlaka, I will now abandon Kosrae and make my way to Yap.
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