Taking a break from my desert travels, we were looking around for some cool water fun to relax. And that was when we heard about Yap and Dad and I had to check it out.
Yap refers to an island that is part of the Caroline Islands of the western Pacific Ocean and a part of the Federated States of Micronesia.
This small island is famous for its stone money known as Rai or Fei. They are large doughnut shaped, carved disks in sizes ranging from 4 m to 3.5 cm in diameter. The largest one would need around 20 adult men to carry!
Can you imagine carrying these babies around when you go grocery shopping?! That would have been one heavy purse!!
But they had a very ingenious solution to deal with that problem. In most cases, they would just trade the stones without moving its location. So for instance, a stone lying near the village square would be given to another person in payment. Everyone would know who the stone now belonged to and it would not need to be transported. There is also a legend that talks about a stone that sank to the bottom of the ocean while being transported on a boat. Everyone agreed that it was still money even though it couldn’t be seen anymore. So someone has money at the bottom of the ocean that they haven’t seen for more than a 100 years but it still belongs to them!
Talk of faith..
So the next time you look at your pennies and notes, spare a moment to think of how far we have come to simplifying trade and exchange!
Until next time- Ciao!