When we were at the Spiritual Emphasis Retreat at Rios Beach (see article below: "Scorpions, Snakes, and Spiritual Emphasis Retreat"), one of the Chuukese guys pulled these branches from a coconut palm tree and within ten minutes had woven this incredible mat. He explained that in addition to using them as sleeping mats, they also use these "mats" as shingles on their island huts. They overlap the "shingles" creating a water-tight roof. Remember, Micronesia is a rain forest so there is a LOT of rain! That's pretty amazing! Not only are the roofs water-tight, but the "shingles" last for two years!!
During the retreat, this same man and his wife sat on the mat while we "haoles" sat on our lawn chairs. It is "the norm" for our students (and probably Micronesians in general) to sit on the floor/ground for hours and to show no signs of discomfort!! Recently, at a college women's night, Karyn had to sit on the tile floor (not up against the wall where there is at least back support) with the other female students for about 2-1/2 hours. She was miserable. "I felt like the most squirmy kid in the world. I simply could not get comfortable!" she moaned. "On the other hand, at least we had an air cooler in the room," she continued with genuine thankfulness.
On many of the islands, parishioners sit in a non-air-conditioned wooden or cement-floored building for church services which can last hours. So, the next time you are sitting in church wishing you were on a cushy couch, give thanks that you are sitting, with back support, in an air-conditioned building. We have so much for which to be thankful. "Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!"