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“What I love about my culture is the way we interact with other people. We always think of others; it’s how we were taught. Yes, we can do what we want, but we must also think of others. … It’s all about sharing.” — Junior “Omakius” H. Spesungel, president of the Palau Community Association of Guam

The association provides productive activities for the youth through its sponsorship of the Mangilao softball team and maintains the village’s softball field, Eagle Field, as well. The Palauan Community Association is also working to build a community center in Lada, Dededo for gatherings, public outreach and demonstrations for the entire island. A groundbreaking for the community center was to be held in July. The organization hopes to host its annual Palau Independence Day celebrations in October at the property once it is cleared. Palau Independence Day recognizes the day the Compact of Free Association with the United States went into effect, Oct. 1, 1994. “We celebrate our independence. It’s very meaningful because we are able to travel to seek better education and opportunities,” Donatus says. The Palau Community Association will hold festivities a week after the official holiday to accommodate a visit from Palau President Tommy E. Remengesau, who visits the different Palauan communities in the region and in the United States throughout the month. The Palau Independence Day celebration is open to the public and will feature entertainment and Palauan cuisine, such as various taro and tapioca dishes and seafood, such as smoked fish and, if the weather is right, sea urchin. The public is encouraged to visit the tents of the various states to try their signature dishes. Some of the dishes, such as coconut candy, will be familiar to Guamanians. The various state clubs will perform cultural dances, including ones that are only performed by men or women, and live bands and musicians will provide entertainment. There will be games, including coconut husking and grinding and spear fishing-themed games to remind Palauans of where they came from and how they used to do things, Donatus said.

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R&R Pacific - August/September 2017  

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