Category - Culture

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Innocenta Sound: At Home While Away
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Lowery Lowery: At Home While Away
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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?

Innocenta Sound: At Home While Away

Innocenta Sound

The move to Honolulu didn?t come easily for Lukunor-born Innocenta Sound. She was uprooted suddenly to care for her father, the former lieutenant governor of Chuuk, when he went on dialysis in Hawaii. The former policewoman became a social activist even as she began full-time work with fellow migrants in a low-income neighborhood of the city. She lives out the ideal of islanders taking care of their own.

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Lowery Lowery: At Home While Away

Lowery Lowery

Lowery Lowery, born in Kosrae, had an interest in security from the outset. After graduating from PATS, he joined the US Marines and served in Iraq. Later he became a key figure in a local security company in Hawaii. Like so many other community leaders, he has been asked to play a key role in helping his fellow migrants. Besides serving as a lay leader in his church, he has been asked to preside at community events.

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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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