Thatching

The class usually uses Nypa fruticans, called parem in Pohnpeian. In some terms the class used the traditional material for Pohnpeian thatching, Metroxylon amicarum, but this requires cutting down the tree to access the fronds. Nypa fruticans can be obtained non-destructively from the plant.
Anthony and Peter

There are two styles of Pohnpeian thatching, doakoahs en Ruk and doakoahs en Pohnpei or simply doakoahs. Doak means "to pierce" with a needle-like object. Oahs is the Pohnpeian name for Metroxylon amicarum.
Julie Ann carves a needle from bamboo. Vanessa on the right.

On Pohnpei in the past the tip of a marlin (a bill fish) was used as a needle. Nowadays the sharpened end of a toothbrush with a hole in the end is a good needle, nails are also sometimes used. Nails with heads, however, do more damage to the frondlet due to their heads. In class we usually use carved pieces of bamboo.

Lewis and Ceasar, doakoahs en Ruk. Maybe doakparem en Ruk...

Expert craftsmanship and skill shows in the even spacing of stitches and the tightness of weave. String is not typically used to stitch the thatch together. Some use the outer skin of the main petiole on oahs. Others unravel rice sacks of woven plastic.

Jackleen and Esther


On Yap the outer skin of a banana is also used for stitching.


Isabella, Annjanette, Elvira


Frondlets are folded so as to create a one-third, two-thirds split in relation to the length of the frondlet. The base is one-third, the apical end is two-thirds. 

Arnold and Mae

The minor rafters over which the frondlets are folded are made of either Phragmites karka (Chuuk: Woowo, niwo, Kosraen: loa, Pohnpeian: lirau) or Saccharum spontaneum (Kosraen: ac, Pohnpeian: ahlek). The minor rafters are called rahu in Pohnpeian. Today we used ahlek.

Mylinda and Syleen

Parem is too narrow to produce proper doakoahs en Pohnpei. Doakoahs en Pohnpei differs in being laid on a 45 degree diagonal. Note that traditionally Pohnpeian thatch was not covered by a net to protect the roof from wind damage.


On the flat, outer island atolls in mid-ocean the wind is a more significant source of damage. On Pohnpei rain and subsequent thatch rot are apparently more problematic. Pohnpei thatch is not netted down. The thatch is designed to catch the wind and "fluff" slightly, aiding in drying of the thatch and slowing rot.

Jackleen removes the nohk

The nohk is the back half of the midrib. Removing the nohk is necessary when using oahs due to the thick midrib. The oahs frondlet cracks and breaks unless this is done. This is not apparently strictly necessary with parem. 

Jackleen

The nohk from oahs are then used to make a whisk broom. Teeth are used to crack the midrib and split the nohk. Removing the nohk from parem (nipa) is more difficult and produces smaller nohk than oahs.

Jasmine and Yolanda, Melinda in the background


Kosrae does not have oahs. Kosrae is presently thought to have only four species of palms. Coconut (Cocos nucifera), betel nut (Areca catechu), Ponapea ledermanianna (Kosrae: kitacr, Pohnpei: kedei) , and Nypa fruticans

Melinda, Yolanda, Jasmine

On Kosrae Nipa fruticans is used for thatch (Kosrae: fahsuc, Pohnpei: parem). Fahsuc is narrower than oahs. Thatching frondlets are laid down in pairs and folded at the midpoint.
Isabella standing, Annjanette and Elvira on the left

In Chuuk pandanus is used for thatch, as well as coconut palm leaf. Coconut palm leaf has a reputation for a short life span across Micronesia.
Marla

Linguistic note: dok is "pierce" while oahs refers to Metroxylon amicarum. The combining of the words is what is known in linguistics as verb noun incorporation or incorporated objects. When the word is by itself, it is dok (intransitive), which means to pierce or to stab. The transitive form of it on the other hand is doakoa. The use of /oa/ is sometimes /o/, depending on the following vowel or consonant sounds. For instance, doakoahs, to pierce oahs, dokpwihk, literally to stab a pig (to pig-slaughter), dokomwomw, to spearfish,etc. [Source: Robert Andreas]
Hertin and Melinda
Mylinda, Syleen, a friend, and Mallone
Anthony, Peter, Angelo, and Mallone

Judyleen

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