Maiberel and Ngarayolt held a historical klechedaol (the cultural practice of visitation between two different states or different traditional groups) this weekend in Koror, a day-and-a-half event, starting at 2 pm on Saturday and ending on Sunday at 5 pm.
Maiberel and Ngarayolt are traditional women’s clubs, Maiberel from Koror and Ngarayolt from Aimeliik. Although the practice of Klechedaol was common between different states and different state groups, Koror and Aimeliik have not held one, at least in the known history.
However, the two states have a long cultural and historical bond, based on the Milad creation story where both are siblings, two of the four children of demi-goddess Milad, Ngeremlengui, Melekeok, Aimeliik (only daughter), and Koror (youngest son).
The two states have had centuries-long histories of alliances.
Initiated by Maiberel, the klechedaol sought to strengthen historical bonds and, in particular, to restore the historical significance of the land of Ngerdobotar, an old Aimeliik village where the people of Koror fled to escape the fighting in Koror during WWII.
“We must not forget what our elders went through to survive the war, the generosity of the people of Aimeliik to the people of Koror during the worst of times. We must never forget those times and where we came from,” expressed Dilrechuldak Ochob, a 97-year-old survivor of that period, who was 13 years old when they had to flee for their lives to Ngerdobotar.
Koror State’s 12th Legislature passed KSL Resolution 12-23 LD1 to commemorate the event, acknowledging the hardships the people of Koror went through during the war, the displacement, the hunger, and the deaths, but also the generosity extended to them during the difficult period.
The people of Koror were ordered to leave right before the US forces attacked Koror, the center of the Japanese operation during the WWII conflict. Dispersed to other Babeldoab states, most of the citizens of Koror were taken to Aimeliik, to the old villages of Ngerdobotar and Ngerberuuch.
The Resolution states that due to extreme hardships experienced, the people of Koror resolved to rebuild back stronger and never forget their history. The resolution supported the efforts of Maiberel to rebuild and strengthen ties with Ngarayolt.
Koror State Governor Eyos Rudimch welcomed Ngarayolt at the Oidel a Chas at Long Island park with Koror State Speaker Milan Isaack, members of the 12th Koror State Legislature, Maiberel, and Ngarametal (Koror’s men’s club).
The hosted event consisted of various activities, including a tour of Oidel a Chas, the garden park at Ngermalk (Long Island) that features only endemic plants, a Maiberel project supported by the Koror State Government. At a dinner hosted by Maiberel, both groups performed dances to entertain each other and build camaraderie among their members.
Maiberel, with Koror State Government, hosted a tour of the Koror State Southern Lagoon, the UNESCO World Heritage Site, including a rare educational visit to Ngerukewid Islands Preserve, the longest-standing conservation area in Palau, a completely No-Take-Zone area. They also planted clams at Koror State Clam Farm to commemorate the occasion.
Maiberel, with the support of Ngarametal, organized a wonderful lunch at Ngermeaus, followed by stops at two other sites to showcase the biological and cultural restoration projects that Maiberel and the state government are collaborating on.
Throughout the tour, Koror State Director Jennifer Olgeriil of the Department of Marine Law and Environment explained the different natural assets within the Rock Island Southern Lagoon, the value to Koror State, and the ongoing work to improve and protect them.
Thanking Maiberal for their generous hospitality, Ngarayolt leader Medangeliang Reklai said this was just the beginning of a strong relationship between the two groups, vowing to support and work with Maiberel on future programs.
Aimeliik State Government, Governor Browny Simer, and the 12th Aimeliik Legislature supported the Ngarayolt klechedaol with travel arrangements and financial support. (By: L.N. Reklai)