Ryoko Saitoh

JICA Volunteer

I have been in Palau for about 2 years. I have already really missed Palau and would like to look back these 2 years.

On July 6th 2015, I arrived at a small airport in Palau with other 4 volunteers. Although I had been to England for a while, it is the first time for me to stay in a foreign country for a long time. I was excited, afraid, and looking forward to seeing what would happen in this new place.

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After two weeks, I started to work in OEK. All the people I met there were kind and warm and often shared food with me.  Then I realized how Palauan people are kind to others.

My duty in OEK is to maintain and improve computer systems especially around the network. In addition, I put importance on sharing with my coworkers my knowledge and technique.  I have not known the result yet. Just what I know is that they have been trying their best and I believe that they will keep studying and maintain well even after I left.

What I am doing here were not only volunteer works. I had some opportunities to join some of Palauan custom. My host families are professionals of Palauan customs and history, so sometimes I listen to stories about them.  And also the people in the hamlet I stayed really know how to make and fix a Palauan traditional house. I joined making a roof of Abai a little. It was an invaluable and exciting experience for me. Of course, any other events or customs such as  night markets, a new year parade in Melekeok, Belau fair, baby shower and funeral were very different from Japanese  one’s and these are really interesting for me.

On weekends, I go scuba diving occasionally. The blue ocean always welcomes me. I saw a lot of fish, turtles, sharks, clams and other marine creatures. Not only scuba, but I also visited the rock islands and other remote islands. I cannot forget how beautiful the islands are, and I am proud that I am one of the people who have most enjoyed the beautiful ocean.

Now only few days are left, but I have a lot of wonderful memories. The pictures I took in Palau is over 100GB, but I got more than the 100GB souvenir. Thank you very much for all you in Palau. See you someday in future. [/restrict]