From Palau 2: Work and sashimi

This summer, Inger is working with the Health Policy and Research Department at the Ministry of Health on the island of Palau. She will blog about her experience here at OHSU StudentSpeak. Learn more about Palau here.

Office where I work
Office where I work

EPISODE 2: Work and Sashimi

Alii and greetings from Palau!

Before I go any further, I need to assure my mother and colleagues that I am in fact working in Palau. See…

This is where I work. I share an office with four other Palauans (who speak a lot of Palauan). Since 2006, the Ministry of Health has conducted in-school health screens. This 2 page assessment includes demographics and information on general health, vision, oral and hearing health, as well as depression–it’s quite comprehensive. The other biostatistician in the office has completed analysis on the sections on BMI and childhood obesity; I’ve started work on the oral health and will continue with hearing and vision as well. This work will all be included in the 2011 MOH Annual Report and I may have the opportunity later to present my work at local functions, as well.

A lot has happened in the past week. Obviously a lot of things I wrote about in my last post seem silly to me now, for instance: “It’s pretty reasonable to walk anywhere…” How naïve I was. I still do enjoy walking around Koror Island, however, I know now that anytime I leave the house on foot, I am accepting a great risk of getting rained on.

It rains here…

A lot…

Especially when I am walking.

I continue to see a lot of new things and meet a lot of new people. Ivan continues to be a loyal and entertaining companion…

…and a great photographer…

I’ve also started expanding my contact list—although I haven’t received my new phone yet so everyone has to call Ivan to get ahold of me. He lives right next door.

Friday night was the Koror Night Market with food, crafts, music and dancing. This event is only held once a month and I look forward to the next one. There I met a “starving artist” from Malibu—Dominique.  I invited her to take me snorkeling Saturday morning.  This was my first experience snorkeling since my arrival.

I saw lots of amazing fish that I don’t know the name of. That being said, there is one fish that I do know the name of: clown fish. They are incredibly entertaining. I hovered in one spot for maybe an hour watching the little clown fish guarding their territory.

Palau also has massive Giant Clams—the largest ones I saw were about the size of a 1990’s boom-box. These were also very colorful.

Some of you may be wondering how easy it is to get seafood in Palau.

Step 1. Go to the fish market (2 mile walk from my apartment)

Step 2. Pick out your fish (e.g. yellowfin tuna, $1.70/lb)

Step 3. Ask the fishmonger to prepare your purchased fish

Step 4. Walk briskly back to your apartment (by now, it is raining)

Step 5. Finish preparing the meal (so that you feel like you really earned that $12 fish)

Step 6. Enjoy your $3 plate of sashimi

The final step is to look online to find out how much tuna is safe to consume within a given period.  Ivan and I feel very fortunate to have had this wonderful meal of fresh fish. The minimum wage in Palau is about $2.50/hour so we realize that this may not be what your typical Palauan is eating on a regular basis.

Bye for now, more to come later.

Ak morolung!

PS. I went back and got the taro wine 🙂

2 responses to “From Palau 2: Work and sashimi

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