A high tide, calm waters and a light wind made for a beautiful scene as the “Rose of Lima” slipped into waters of the Pacific for the first time.
A team of master carvers and the young men they are mentoring crafted the canoe, a traditional hand-carved dugout outrigger. The work was organized by Waa’gey, a community-based organization that utilizes traditional skills to confront the social, economic and environmental challenges faced by the people of Micronesia’s most remote Outer Islands. This is Waa’gey’s second large sailing canoe in the last twelve months, and only the second Outer Island style canoe ever carved on Yap Proper.
Among those at the shore for the launch were members of the Habele 2012 Listening Tour. Habele Directors Regina Raigetal and Neil Mellen explained that their organization had provided financial and material support for Waa’gey. They relayed how parents of participating students reported a positive impact on classroom achievement and the students’ self worth.
Raigetal further noted that Waa’gey had been partnering with both independent and public schools on Yap to provide instruction on cultural skills and traditional technologies to a larger pool of children through hands-on tours and lectures.
Also on the Listening Tour, and observing the canoe launch, was Nils Winkler, CEO of Yapital, a European-based electronic payments company. Yapital helped to provide fuel and tools for the carvers, as part of its ongoing partnership with Habele to support K-12 students across Yap State.