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Micronesia - Kosrae

Menka ruins - Courtesy of

Menka Ruins

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Overview of Menka Ruins

Hidden untouched for centuries by the jungle, Menka (Menke) ruins were the sacred spot of Sinlaku, the goddess of nature and breadfruit. In 1852, Sinlaku had a premonition that there would soon be big changes. Afraid her deity would be challenged and disliking change, she left Kosrae. The following day, First Congregational missionaries arrived on Kosrae. According to the tradition, Sinlaku now lives in Yap but there is widespread feeling among the locals that she is still in Menka. For this reason, visitors, upon approaching the sacred sites, are asked to don garlands of cinnamon-scented ferns in order to please Sinlaku.

To get to the ruins, you must follow some very old pathways built along the river; complete with retaining walls and a tread that has undoubtedly been walked upon by countless generations. In the past, people used various passages to arrive at the site: overland trails as well as paths through and alongside various stream drainages. People would gather perhaps once a year to pay homage, although it is suggested that her priests would gather more frequently, meeting for private conferences at a platform that supported seven large standing stones (backrests).

The site is beautiful, obscured in great part by the jungle, located in a large drainage, with a hundred or more compounds distributed on both sites of the river, in close proximity to one another. Several medicinal plants are scattered throughout the drainage.One wonders if you stand still long enough, whether you will hear the echo of the seka stones pounding the roots of the kava plant or whispered chants of long ago.

The Sacred Seka (also called Sakau), is a mildly narcotic drink pounded from a local root and consumed, perhaps as part of the worship ritual. You can still observe the flat stone areas were seka has been pounded for centuries and maybe try it!

The marker shows the approximate entrance to the trail. Highly recommended to use a guide, as it is lightly marked, not easy to follow. There is a sign past the Utwe village that says 'Menke Ruins Trail' but it's in bad shape.

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