Category - Culture

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Alice Ehmes: At Home While Away
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Serpian Yaliweisei: At Home While Away
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Castro Mudong: At Home While Away
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Asinech Hellan Pangelinan: At Home While Away
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Tom Raffapiy: At Home While Away
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Are They Ours or Theirs?
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A Gift From Afar
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A Few Weeks in Palau

Alice Ehmes: At Home While Away

Alice Ehmes

Many knew Alice Ehmes back in the islands, when she worked for the College of Micronesia and then served with the National Government. The competent administrator then is still the same, but now she is working for the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. You?ll see her at the computer tending her website, advising women applying for jobs, and on her favorite means of transportation.

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Serpian Yaliweisei: At Home While Away

Serpian Yaliweisei

There?s more than enough room in a family for two or even three cultures, as Serpian Yaliweisei?s story shows. The boy from Ifaluk who once thought he might be a navigator ended up as the quality control manager for a large heavy equipment company in the outskirts of Dallas. His family redefines the term cultural melting pot; there is room for both Mexican and Micronesian music and dance. Read More

Castro Mudong: At Home While Away

Castro Mudong

Salem, Oregon, is just a few miles south of Portland?one of the largest concentrations of Micronesians in the mainland US. The grandfather of the Pohnpeian community there is Castro Mudong, the former police chief on Pohnpei before moving to the US to serve for years in the Portland area. Because of his seniority Castro presides at events like the softball tournament held there last summer. Read More

Asinech Hellan Pangelinan: At Home While Away

Asinech Hellan Pangelinan

Here?s Asinech Hellan Pangelinan at work as an optometrist in Phoenix and at home with her young child. She made the move to the US when she finished high school in Chuuk and remained there ever since. She may have left, but a good part of her remains in the islands, as you?ll see from the charity work she does and the songs she sings. Read More

Tom Raffapiy: At Home While Away

Tom Raffapiy

Tom Raffapiy, born on Satawal, left for the US in his youth. He spent many years in the US Army, serving in Iraq and eventually earning the highest enlisted rank in the service. But that was only the beginning for Tom. He began a second career as businessman in a contracting firm, even as he designed his own house, complete with taro patch outside. Read More

Are They Ours or Theirs?

Micronesian migrants are in the news again. No surprise at all, I suppose. They?re always in the news. And they are also very much on my mind.

In mid-January I paid a visit to the Chuukese community living in Milan, Minnesota (a town of 350), whose migrant population has grown from 140 at my visit a year ago to 180 now. After our Sunday mass and baptism, they arranged a little get-together with the obligatory basketball followed by songs, dances and food. But the gathering had to be scheduled early enough so that many of them could make their graveyard work-shift at the local turkey processing plant beginning at 8 PM.
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A Gift From Afar

Just three days after Christmas, three travelers from the east (at least if you think of Spain as lying to the east) brought to Guam a gift?the skull of a Jesuit priest who had been killed on the island 330 years earlier. The priest, Fr. Manuel Solorzano, was one of the twelve Jesuits who lost their lives in what have come to be known as the ?Spanish-Chamorro Wars.?

The skull was a reminder of the worst of times, some would say. People died in unprecedented numbers from disease and violence, the culture was radically transformed, and for the first time islanders lived under a foreign flag. Read More

A Few Weeks in Palau

Here we are in Palau, an island group with a per capita income four times higher than that of the rest of Micronesia. “The Land of Gold Chains and Fancy Watches” is what one of our Jesuit volunteer teachers used to call it some years ago. It?s a place that is on the map?-Darryl Hannah and JFK Jr. vacationed here 20 years ago, and the Survivor TV series was filmed here ten years ago. The country has been self-governing for only 35 years, but it has had two presidents who died violent deaths?-one who was assassinated and another who shot himself. It?s never exactly been Dullsville here in Palau. Where else, a friend once asked, could you strike up a serious conversation on current political affairs with a total stranger? Read More

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