Tom Raffapiy: At Home While Away
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.
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 www.athomewhileaway.org. To watch some of the earlier videos on Micronesian migrants, go to new.micsem.org.