Urgent Evoke

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The traditional knowledge success story I want to tell you about comes from Fiji. It is about the most commonly used item in Fiji which is also known as the "grass mat", a mat woven by hand from pandanus leaves.

I found the story pretty interesting because it is about the usage of a natural growing material without relying on any machines. In this story no natural resources are put to waste and there are no environmental pollutions during the manufactoring process.

Pandanus trees are palm like, dioecious trees and most numerous on the low islands of Polynesia (where Fiji is located) and Micronesia. The tree is grown and propagated from shoots that form spontanseously in the axils of the lower leaves. Its fruit can float and spread to other islands without the help from man.

There are different mats used for different occasions such as ordinary mats for house floors or special mats as wedding gifts etc. Mats made of pandanus leaves are used for walls and floors as well as for decorating purposes. Some of them have very detailed patterns and are very artistic looking.

Before the weaving starts the leaves need to be scraped, boiled and dried in the sun. The dried leaves are gathered and split into long parallel strands. Once the strands are split they are lined up in criss cross patterns and the weaving begins. The leaves are slightly different shades and the ladies make sure to arrange them in a pattern they prefer. Most mats have highly decorative and brightly coloured wool.

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