A n atmosphere of excitement and nervousness rose with the early morning sun on the Micronesian island of Yap.

It is March 1 and the smell of hibiscus drifts through the tibnaw huts. Entire families sit on dried palm fronds, as all ages prepare to perform on behalf of their village in front of the still-powerful tribal chiefs.

Among the dense junglescape, colorful skirts are being woven out of pandanus leaves, while turmeric and coconut oils are applied to the uncovered skin of the young and the old, creating a sheen that turns almost golden under the bright sunlight.