Reflections on my trip to Nan Madol

reflections 02

By Facimerie Ioanis - JULY 2016
On our way to Nan Madol, I had a feeling that I have never felt before. I was excited and scared at the same time. It was my first time to see Nan Madol and was really curious about it. When we got there, I had many questions I wanted to ask. One of the questions I was really curious about was, “How did these rocks get here?” The place was amazing. It felt like I was in a wonderland. I have never seen such a beautiful place like Nan Madol and such heavy long rocks piled up neatly. I’m happy that I had a chance to take pictures of unbelievable structures so I can share with the people around me the inspiration of Nan Madol. Amazingly, I had the chance to cross the sea since it was shallow and went over to the other side to see for myself, the so called red sand. It was kind of red but now really red. If only I had the chance to visit all 92 islets, I would have done so. Nan Madol is just the perfect place to visit and take pictures. I am so in love with that place.

reflections 01Legend and stories I have heard about Nan Madol
There have been many stories of Nan Madol I have heard. What I truly believe in is the story of two brothers, Olosohpa and Olosihpa. It was said that these two brothers arrived from Yap and settled in Sokehs. They wanted to build a place for worshipping their gods. At first, they attempted to build Nan Madol somewhere in Sokehs but they failed. They tried in U and that site failed too. Then, they climbed a mountain and from there they saw the suitable place and planned on building it there at Madolenihmw. They forced the people to help build Nan Madol in Madolenihmw at the open sea. They used their magic powers to fly the rocks from Sokehs to Madolenihmw. For years, they worked on the project.
I am not sure if this how they built Nan Madol because there are rumors that Europeans found iron at Nan Madol when they arrived here in Pohnpei. Nan Madol is a mysterious place. No one knows the true story of that place. Nan Madol is sacred and there are spirits living in the place. If you disrespect it, you’ll end up getting sick or even die. Every time you do something or cross over something, you say, “Ihieng”. That is how you show respect to that place.
Things that surprised me about Nan Madol
Everything there is surprising, especially the problem of how the rocks got there and how it was built by just two brothers with the help of the people. I believe that not even a giant can roll the rocks. The hole at the back surprises me when we took a picture of it. It’s like there’s a tunnel in there. As we crossed the sea to go to take a look at the other side, the red sand caught my eye. I was surprised to see different colored sand. Nan Madol holds lots of interesting and surprising structures. As I mentioned before, if only I had the chance to visit all the islets, I bet there would be more surprises at Nan Madol.
Why is Nan Madol important to me as a Pohnpeian?
When I was a kid I didn’t know what Nan Madol was and didn’t think it was that important to me. But as years passed and I got to learn more about Nan Madol, I found it really interesting and important. To me as a Pohnpeian, Nan Madol is very important because it’s holds an important story of our ancestors’ hard work and the sadness they went through because they were being forced to build Nan Madol. It is very important especially to us Pohnpeians because Pohnpei is our home and Nan Madol is placed on Pohnpei. Like Pohnpei, it is sacred.