A young girl learns to weave a basket from a Palauan woman during the first day of the summer camp hosted by the Palau Visitors Authority and Airai State government at the Bai ra Melengel. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)

With an aim to keep traditional and cultural Palauan practices alive, the Palau Visitors Authority (PVA) had partnered with Airai State in conducting a free, week-long summer program for kids at Bai ra Melengel in Airai slated July 8-12.

A total of 68 kids with ages 9 to 15 are going to learn about weaving, spear making, preparing tapioca, and building small replicas of bamboo rafts directly from 12 local fishermen and weavers who will serve as their teachers. The female children will also visit a taro patch while males are going to be taught some fishing techniques. In Palauan culture, taro patches and fishing activities are integral parts of the daily life.

Other activities lined up for the program include coastal cleanup at Airai rock islands, and a tour around Bai ra Rengarairrai.

aState and Community Department manager Katarina Mad said that they intend to conduct the program annually.

“The objective of this program is to teach them the traditional, cultural ways of Palauans and we have different activities for both girls and boys,” Mad said, explaining further that each activity was designed according to the age group of the participating kids.

Mad said that through the program, they are also teaching kids to move away from the use of plastic and as well as to teach them their traditional practices.

Mad said that their office is planning to conduct a longer summer camp next year where the kids could learn how to weave traditional grass skirt, a skill which is only possess by a few Palauans nowadays. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)