Sunday, December 26, 2010

Yapese Architecture

Women's House

Men's House

Men's and Women's House :-)


  1. So what's the deal with these houses? What are they for?

  2. Well, their purposes have changed over the centuries, but currently they are primarily used as meeting places. The men of the village will meet regularly to discuss village issues, plans, events, justice and discipline. They will meet in a Man House or Men's House (both names are used in English).

    I've also been told that they also provide a place for the men to go and be alone for awhile prior to heading off fishing. Usually the night before a fishing expedition will be spent in a Men's house...

    Similarly, women meet in the Women's House to discuss affairs that affect the women of the village, again including discipline.

    The entire system of justice and discipline is run by the local villages. Even the police will not overstep village justice, which often include beatings. There is not a lot of serious crime here. Thieves, vandals, etc. are almost always caught, swiftly punished and the acts are rarely repeated. Alcohol related crimes, domestic disputes, and disturbing the peace are the biggest problem... all of which are usually related to alcohol.

    I asked, and apparently the men and women never meet together. Decisions are made independently of each other.

    The "Men's and Women's" house that I photographed is my bad sense of humour showing through. This is one of the few public restrooms on the island. They are generally scary places... but this one looks well cared for... from the outside at least.

  3. Thanks for the lesson on Yap. I will be sure to tell our friends daughter (she's doing a report on it). I showed her your blog and she enjoyed it very much. Keep up the great work! Our family enjoys checking it out! It won't be long until Alex is out on his mission and then Chris will follow suit... Wow, time flies!