Be the change you want to see in this world

"Be the change you want to see in the world."
-Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hafa Adai! As part of my commitment to continue to share cultural poems relating to our beautiful island of Guam and its people, here’s Korasón Poem #40 titled Sister Dear. Enjoy!

Sister Dear

Who could imagine that I’d have a sister like you?
A sister I admire and happen to love too.
Although you’re three years younger than me
I’ve learned so much from you, My Dear Chelu*
I’ve learned that having a sister can be so wonderful
Having someone to lean on when I’m feeling blue
Having someone to confide my secrets with
And just knowing that I am not alone.

Remember when you were 10 and I was 13?
I told you to give Nana* the strawberries
Which was topped with whip cream.
Well, she never saw whip cream in her whole life
And she thought it was shaving cream!
Remember when I saw dad kissing mom on the porch?
We couldn’t help but laugh and you shouted,
“Oh my gosh! Look!”

I admit that we’ve had our fights
We even called each other disgusting names.
Yet we somehow always managed
To suddenly be friends once again,
And, without a doubt,
Be the best friends sisters could be!

So Sister Dear
Remember that I’ll always remember
The precious times we’ve shared
And you will always hold a special place in my heart.
I love you girl!
© mnrivera and ltgumataotao

*Chelu: sister, *Nana: mother


Source: Our Native Daughters’ Reflection of Guam and Its People by Dr. Matilda Naputi Rivera and Lois Taitano Gumataotao

Saturday, October 11, 2008

San Dimas Church, Malesso, Guam

Hafa Adai! As part of my commitment to continue to share cultural poems relating to our beautiful island of Guam and its people, here’s Korasón Poem #39 titled Catholic Church Gatherings. Enjoy!

Catholic Church Gatherings

Every Sunday morning we attend the early mass
With parishioners that fill up the pews in minutes.
It is a well known fact that if you come too late
You’ll often find yourself standing
Sometimes at the back of the church.
During mass you’ll see all sorts of people, rich or poor
Single or married with children.
You’ll also see both old and young alike
Who have been brought up going to church
And have made it a ritual of theirs.
You’ll find old women in their mestisa*
Who often wear rosary beads
And you may even hear some nenis* crying.
But no matter who we see or what people wear
Everyone joins together
As one big Catholic Christian family.
Our people have been Catholics for generations
And it is evident that no one can take away
Our strong Catholic faith.
© mnrivera and ltgumataotao

*mestisa: cultural outfit usually worn by elder women for religious or formal ceremonies
*nenis: babies

Source: Our Native Daughters’ Reflection of Guam and Its People by Dr. Matilda Naputi Rivera and Lois Taitano Gumataotao

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Hafa Adai! As part of my commitment to continue to share cultural poems relating to our beautiful island of Guam and its people, here’s Korasón Poem #38 titled Funerals. Enjoy!

Funerals

Losing a loved one is tough
Especially if you’re part of the immediate family.
I remember when my Tata* died
I had to wear a red outfit
As well as my brothers and and my sister.
My mom and dad wore black
Along with my tihus yan tihas*.
I didn’t shed a tear
Because I wanted to show everyone I was strong
But that didn’t last for too long.
It was one of the saddest moments in my life
Because the time had come for me to say goodbye.
Adios Tata*
Adios yan memorias
I know I’ll meet you some day
When my time comes to join you in heaven above.

© mnrivera and ltgumataotao

*Tata: father
*tihus yan tihas: uncles and aunts
*Adios Tata: Goodbye father
*Adios yan memorias: Goodbye and memories.

Note: Although Tata literally translates to father, in this poem, it is affectionately referred to such for grandfather, based on her personal experience.


Source: Our Native Daughters’ Reflection of Guam and Its People by Dr. Matilda Naputi Rivera and Lois Taitano Gumataotao

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Hafa Adai! As part of my commitment to continue to share cultural poems relating to our beautiful island of Guam and its people, here’s Korasón Poem #37 titled Chonka. Enjoy!

Chonka

As a child I remember one game that I often played
Chonka was the name of the game.
I would play it with my brother
For hours on end
As we’d take a handful of shells and place it
Into the carved cups of the wooden tray
Over and over again.
Chonka…
I don’t play it as often as I used to
But I do have fond memories
Of playing with this special game
And perhaps we can bring it back into our lives, Someday.
© mnrivera and ltgumataotao


Source: Our Native Daughters’ Reflection of Guam and Its People by Dr. Matilda Naputi Rivera and Lois Taitano Gumataotao

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Hafa Adai! As part of my commitment to continue to share cultural poems relating to our beautiful island of Guam and its people, here’s Korasón Poem #36 titled Empanada. Enjoy!

Empanada

I love that fried, tasty orange-colored empanada
Filled with what tastes
Like a scrumptious chalakiles* dish.
I’m talking about that snack that’s shaped like a turnover
Which is actually made of dough
And also toasted ground rice.
But why is it colored orange, some may ask –
That’s simply because
The ingredients are colored with achoti seeds*
So the next time you go to a fiesta
Or even a mom-and-pop store
Look for that delicious orange-colored empanada
And savor its delicious taste!
© mnrivera and ltgumataotao

*chalakiles: rice porridge; orange-colored stew-like dish made with toasted ground rice
*achoti seeds: seeds used for coloring rice and other foods

Source: Our Native Daughters’ Reflection of Guam and Its People by Dr. Matilda Naputi Rivera and Lois Taitano Gumataotao

Hafa Adai! As part of my commitment to continue to share cultural poems relating to our beautiful island of Guam and its people, here’s Korasón Poem #35 titled Suruhana. Enjoy!

Suruhana

In my family the spiritual stories remain alive
Of my great grandmother,
Antonia Chargualaf Nangauta,
Who served as the village suruhana* of Malesso.
I’ve been told of how she would cure the sick
By giving them herbs to eat or drink
Or maybe even massage them.
Yet I was also told that when she healed someone
The sickness imposed by the spirit would transfer to her
So she, too, would have to drink herbs to cure herself.
She often instructed those inflicted with sickness
To visit the site where their illness began
And ask for forgiveness for disturbing the spirits.

So if you enter the jungle
Be careful not to disturb the taotaomo’na*.
Ask for permission from the Guela yan Guelo*
Before you begin your travel
So that you may not get sick, pinched, get red marks
Or even swell.
This is because, although the suruhana is revered,
There aren’t that many that can be found these days,
For, they too, grow of old age,
Just like my great grandmother
Who has since passed away.
© mnrivera and ltgumataotao

*suruhana: female herb doctor
*taotaomo’na: ghost; people of before
*Guela yan Guelo : grandmother and grandfather

Source: Our Native Daughters’ Reflection of Guam and Its People by Dr. Matilda Naputi Rivera and Lois Taitano Gumataotao

Friday, October 03, 2008

Two Lovers Leap Statue, Tumon Bay, Guam



Hafa Adai! As part of my commitment to continue to share cultural poems relating to our beautiful island of Guam and its people, here’s Korasón Poem #34 titled The Two Lovers. Enjoy!

The Two Lovers

There’s a legend they say
About two young Chamorro lovers
Who jumped to their death at Puntan Dos Amantes*
All in the name of love.
Their story goes something like this –
There once lived a beautiful Chamorro maiden
Who caught the eye of every young man in the village.
Although her father wanted to dictate her marriage
To a rich Spanish captain
She was in love with a young native boy.
And despite her parents disapproval
She met secretly with her lover.
But enough was enough
When her parents had arranged for her marriage
To the Spanish captain she did not care for.
So the two lovers ran away
But they never came home.
They tied their hairs together as a symbol of love
And both jumped off the cliff of Tumon Bay.
They say soldiers were sent to search for the maiden
But all they saw for a brief moment
Were floating hairs that disappeared in seconds.
© mnrivera and ltgumataotao

*Puntan Dos Amantes: Two Lovers’ Point

Source: Our Native Daughters’ Reflection of Guam and Its People by Dr. Matilda Naputi Rivera and Lois Taitano Gumataotao

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Hafa Adai! As part of my commitment to continue to share cultural poems relating to our beautiful island of Guam and its people, here’s Korasón Poem #33 titled Y Kareta Hu – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Enjoy!

Y Kareta Hu –
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang


“Chitty Chitty, Bang! Bang!,”
I sometimes say to myself.
For in our family
We had our own very special, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
I remember that it was a Mazda B-2200 pickup
That we kids shared.
It was color black
With bangs here and there
From left to right
With bruises and scratches –
Evidence of our joyful and fearful rides.

It was our Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
That we all used for our first drive
To take to school
To do errands from Yigo to Malesso.
To place our loveable nenis in,
As cramped as we were.
Yet, it was also our Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
That we got our first car accident in
As we slammed another car
On a slippery and wet road one terrible day.
It was our Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
That my brothers had backed up with
As they slammed into a wall
Carelessly rushing to get somewhere.
I remember how we tried to cover up
The damages on our Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
As we cleaned inside and outside of our house
Making it sparkling clean
With an aroma of spring freshness
While also cooking up a superb and delicious treat.
Though my parents were delighted
With our household efforts
It was not too long
Before they realized what we had done
To our Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Those were the days…

You know,
We’ve had a lot of special memories
With our Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
And though he’s gone in Auto Heaven now
I will always remember him –
Here’s to our good ‘ole Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!
Y kareta hu!
© mnrivera and ltgumataotao

*nenis: babies
*Y kareta hu: My car


Source: Our Native Daughters’ Reflection of Guam and Its People by Dr. Matilda Naputi Rivera and Lois Taitano Gumataotao