Mechelins K Iechad


Love and protect it, grandma would say
Just as you care for it now, it will care for you

Soft flesh
Sweet drink
Strong shell in which to keep
Fiber useful to me

As I age, it ages with me
Hard meat

Meat in which my grandmother grated
She squeezed its juices
Boiled it and boiled it
Then let it sit

As its milk pulls away from its oil she separates it
Adding oils made from lemon grass and other herbs
My grandmother once more boils its oil with the added herbal oils

After cooling she lets it sit
Jarring it for use
And I am gifting it to you

May the oil created from our love bless you as it sparkles upon your fair skin
May it decrease the marks of childbirth
Heal the gashing wounds
May its milk fill you
May it be your fountain of youth

As we have loved and protected it
Sweat and poured love into it
May it forever bring love and longevity to you

Baninnur: A Basket of Food

Mechelins K Iechad is from the Islands of Palau and is a master’s candidate at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Mechelins is interested in Palau’s traditional form of government and portrayal of oral histories through art in the Bai (meeting house). During her free time, she enjoys cooking and documenting the history and techniques of making traditional Palauan foods.

detail of Diasporic Waters - Joy Enomoto - 2014