Castro Mudong: At Home While Away

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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.

At Home While Away

Nathan Fitch, a filmmaker and former PCV in Kosrae, and I have just completed a new one-hour video documentary about Micronesian islanders who have resettled in the US. The video, which contains short segments on eight individuals, is entitled ?At Home While Away.? We would like to think of these segments as success stories, educational and perhaps even inspirational for those who view them.

This is not the first video we have made on migrants. Micronesian Seminar, when I was still director there, produced a documentary entitled ?Micronesians Abroad? in 2006 and another called ?Missing Micronesians? in 2009. In these earlier videos we explored the reasons for the massive migration from the islands, surveyed some of the main destinations, and showed the challenges transplanted islanders face in their new home. But these videos also portray some of the creative strategies migrants also have worked out to deal with these challenges. Nathan Fitch, the film-maker of this documentary, has produced another hour-long piece on Micronesians in the military. It will soon (we hope!) be released under the title ?Island Soldier.?

This new video explores the lives of a few migrants told in their own voices. They include men and women, people from every state of FSM, long-serving military men as well as civilians, successful businesspeople and persons dedicated to serving their own community.

We are proud to be able to bring these tales of triumph to you, and ask that you consider passing this on to others who might be interested. ?At Home While Away? may be found on the web at To watch some of the earlier videos on Micronesian migrants, go to

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About the author

Francis X. Hezel, SJ
Francis X. Hezel, SJ

Francis X. Hezel, SJ, is a Jesuit priest who has lived and worked in Micronesia since 1963. At different times he has served as high school teacher, school administrator, pastor, and regional superior to the Jesuits of Micronesia. He spent thirty years directing the Micronesian Seminar, a non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Pohnpei, Micronesia. He has written and spoken widely about social change and its impact on island societies. He has also written several books on Micronesian history, including The First Taint of Civilization, Strangers in Their Own Land, and The New Shape of Old Island Cultures. His most recent book, Making Sense of Micronesia: The Logic of Pacific Island Culture, is available through University of Hawaii Press.