Summer Camps with Ebiil Society
Check in time was slotted for 2pm on Sunday June 18, but the children started arriving 10am at Ollei Bai e ra Iderbei excited to begin their experience at Ebiil 13th Summer Camp. By 4pm the first Ebiil check was conducted with introduction and the layout of activities for the rest of the camp. [restrict]
There were 72 participants including all campers and young college students’ interns.
This year the camp was tailored for children ages 8 and above to
get a glimpse into the culture and the people of Palau before the coming of foreigners.
The children visited the village of Ngaraard where Mr. Andrew Shiro gave a tour of the old village of Ngebuked and related the oral histories of the village to the participants. Children were able to see the stone monuments and hear stories of some heroic characters of Palau and their great feats. Due to the intermittent rain, the walk to Ngerchokl was arduous and time consuming, but the children gleefully jumped over potholes and tiptoed on tree roots to avoid the swampy terrain as they meandered to one Palau’s historical site.
Teachers Van Ray, Ann, Joyce also taught them about the environment including the importance of watershed areas and ways to protect them. Children learned the medicinal properties of some plants used by Palauans for colds, flus, cuts, burns and so on. The girls joined the women at the taro patch, “mesei” where they learned the different components of cultivating taro and its connection to the culture and the environment. The boys spent time with the village fishermen learning how to prepare fishing tools such as knotting fishing line to the hook and other ways to become a good fisherman with a traditional view of conservation and preservation for future generation.
The campers had the opportunity to snorkel at Ebiil channel and learn about fish habitat and migration. On the way to Ngerkeklau, a ngasech or hawksbill turtle, guided them to the beach then took off to the deeper blue sea. “Can we stay longer?”, asked Raymie, a 10 year old new camper. “Yes, chimed in Haruki, Why don’t you make it longer?” he asked.
Each day there was a different activity where children were involved in hands-on learning about culture and environment. On the fourth day, campers went about hunting and preparing for a seafood dinner; the girls went clamming (mengesechol and mengduul). The guys went fishing and everyone returned to the abai to prepare the meal. Guys were at the summer house grinding coconut, and preparing fish while the girls were at the outside kitchen with preparing the clams and the ongraol. A delicious dinner of beldak el ngikel, fried fish, two kinds of clam chowder soup, banana, taro were served that night to the satisfied food hunters – Palauan children from age 8 to 22.
The first camp culminated with an overnight trip to Ngeblas, Kayangel where children enjoyed swimming and frolicking at unspoiled waters of Kayangel. That night after barbecue supper, the campers reclined on the soft sand to study the stars and their value to traditional navigation from the co-founder of Ebiil Society Inc, Ann Singeo.
The second camp was co-sponsored with Heirs to Our Ocean, aka H20 with international participants from America and other Micronesia islands. At the end of the 2 camps, the students showcased their team project at the Ngarachemayong Cultural Center to the amazement of the staff and parents. The kids’ creativity was evident in every presentation and the video productions. For more information about the camps, please call 488-4447 and tune in to the campers production in our local television channels. [/restrict]