Be the change you want to see in this world

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

Thursday, November 20, 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 #52 titled Y Prensa. Enjoy!

Y Prensa

I remember my mother telling me
How she used y prensa* to iron her clothes
Because back then
There was no such thing as an electric iron.
She’d have to go get tesson*
Which would be burning inside the iron
Releasing the heat
That would be used to press the clothes.
Y prensa,
A small, yet heavy household appliance
Carefully crafted out of iron,
Is no longer used today.
But it’s a reminder of Guam’s past
Of how our people were resourceful
And they made do with what they had.
© mnrivera and ltgumataotao

*y prensa: iron
*tesson: fire stick

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

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tan Floren 's woven creations

Image source: http://www.pacificworlds.com

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 #51 titled Weaving. Enjoy!

Weaving

Weaving with coconut leaves
Was a part of the Chamorro culture
Before and during the Japanese occupation.
Our people would tufok* baskets
For fishing and to hold things in
And they would also weave
Many other things such as the
Guafak* to sleep on
Higai* to provide shelter
Purses to keep items in
Bohao* to keep themselves cool
Katupat* for cooking rice
And decorations for fiestas.
Weaving is used to this day
And I hope that it is one art that won’t go away.

© mnrivera and ltgumataotao

*tufok: weave
*Guafak: mat
*Higai: Roof of coconut palm
*Bohao: Fan
*Katupat: woven container used for cooking rice

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

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Image source: http://www.guampedia.com/



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 #50 titled Fanihi. Enjoy!

Fanihi

On Guam there’s a very special animal we call fanihi*.
It’s a delicacy for many
For I recall how my parents would crave for it.
They would get so excited
Whenever they were able to catch one
Just so that they can eat it with delight.
As for me
Well, I don’t necessarily crave for it
For one would have to acquire its odor
Of a skunk-like smell.
And one would also have to be accustomed
To looking at the blaring, bulging eyes
Of a fury, flying mouse-like creature.
And if you go to a fiesta
Who knows,
You just might come across a fanihi
That’ll greet you with that unique odor
And those unique eyes.
But don’t let it frighten you
For you just might like him
Just as my parents do and no doubt, always will.
© mnrivera and ltgumataotao

*Fanihi: fruit bat

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

Saturday, November 15, 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 #49 titled Belembao Tuyan. Enjoy!

Belembao Tuyan

Our culture is rich with music and dance
And one thing that makes it lively
Is the belembao tuyan* which will delight your ears
With its distinctive sounds
That are uniquely generated by one’s stomach

There aren’t that many
Who can play the belembao tuyan with ease
But when it is played you can bet
It will merrily entertain you
With a cultural tune that can’t be matched.
© mnrivera and ltgumataotao

*belembao tuyan: musical string instrument which is held against the belly while the musician plays.


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

Friday, November 14, 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 #48 titled Tapon Dia. Enjoy!

Tapon Dia

Saturday was my family’s Tapon Dia.
As low tide came around
We went to the beach to harvest clam all day long.
We would use our fingers
To dig deep into the sand.
And we would pick as many clams as we could.

Clam after clam we all would harvest
Clam after clam we all would spread out
We would dig and dig
Until our bucket was filled with clams.

But the best thing of all is eating the clams
After it has been washed and boiled with coconut milk
For eating the cooked clams with hot rice
Is a well deserved treat!
© mnrivera and ltgumataotao

* Tapon Dia: Clam Day


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

Wednesday, November 12, 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 #47 titled Kahit. Enjoy!

Kahit

I enjoy eating kahit or orange as we know it
For it was one of my favorite fruits
As a child and still is to this day.
When August rolled around the corner
I knew it was orange harvest time once again.

I remember how my brothers, sister and I
Would scramble around to pick the oranges
That suddenly all came falling down
After my dad hit all the tree branches with utmost force.
And if we weren’t careful enough
To dodge the falling oranges
We’d sometimes get hit on our backs, arms or legs.

Although it was hard work to pick all the oranges
I tried my best to fill up my sack to the very top
So that I may peel and enjoy
As many oranges to eat with much delight!
© mnrivera and ltgumataotao

*kahit: orange

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

Saturday, November 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 #46 titled Biba Kumple Años. Enjoy!

Biba Kumple Años*

Every year there comes a Special Day
Once a year for each of us
To celebrate our Birthday!

When that Special Day came we knew what to expect
As we would go to Sizzlers to feast and enjoy
And be greeted by a group of jolly people
Who would loudly sing,
Happy Birthday to You! Happy Birthday to You!
As they delivered a delicious treat
Topped with a lighted candle
To make that Special Birthday Wish.

When that moment came
All eyes would be on the Birthday Celebrant
Who would be caught off guard
And literally turn red as a lobster.
Until the singing stopped
And the onlookers turned away.

I still remember those Special Days…
I call it the Sizzlers Moment –
For it’s a moment we shared many times at Sizzlers.
And though Sizzlers is no longer on Guam
The memories will always be cherished
And we’ll continue to create
Other moments at a Special Place
For that Special Day
Held once a year
To celebrate our Birthday!
Biba Kumple Años!
© mnrivera and ltgumataotao

*Biba Kumple Años: Happy Birthday

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

Thursday, November 06, 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 #45 titled Chenchulé yan Ika. Enjoy!


Chenchulé yan Ika

One of the things I appreciate in our culture

Is the chenchulé system

For it’s one that has assisted my family in times of need.

I remember when my Tata passed away,

Hundreds of people gathered in support

To assist in his burial,

Not only emotionally but financially as well.

Many people gave ika,

Such as delicious food for the rosaries,

Or money to help our family.


I was amazed at the countless people

Who paid their respects –

A sign of a valuable relationship

That will always be remembered.

I’ve been told by my parents

That the chenchulé given

Was part of a reciprocal connection

For various good deeds my Tata had done

To help others while he was still alive.

It brightens my spirit to know

That if any big event may occur,

Whether it be a funeral, wedding, or christening,

I know there will be that network

Of financial and emotional support.

© mnrivera and ltgumataotao


*chenchulé: present (money), donation, thing that is given away, gift.
*ika: donation, gift – given to the family of a deceased person.

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

Wednesday, November 05, 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 #44 titled Belen. Enjoy!

Belen

During Christmas time,
I’m reminded of the belen* or nativity scene
That my family and I worked hard to put together,
Yet with gentle care.
In preparation, we would go out to the deep jungle
In our village of Malesso
And pick the moss a certain way,
So that we could create
Our very own special little town of Bethlehem
That would be displayed for days.
We would carefully decorate
Our belen with the Niño, Mary, Joseph
But that’s not all –
There were also the shepard, manger animals;
Not too mention the drummer boys, angels
And, of course, the three kings
To add that special touch of a glorious nativity scene.

When our belen was set up
We were all set to go
For I knew we were ready to begin praying the novena*
And sing songs for nine days.
And though the years have gone by, I’m happy to say
That our tradition
Of building the belen and praying the novena remains.
© mnrivera and ltgumataotao

*belen: nativity scene
*novena: nine-day series of prayer
*Niño: statue of the baby Jesus

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

Tuesday, November 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 #43 titled Boi Boi. Enjoy!

Boi Boi

Boi Boi was the name of our pet ga’lagu*
That we loved to play with
Day in and day out
From dusk ‘til dawn
In our little, yet loving house in Malesso.

We took him to the ranch to run and play with
And I remember how he looked graceful,
Yet cute as he swam swiftly in the river there
With his feet paddling in a rhythmic fashion.
I remember how we walked him for hours
All around the yard
Snuggling against him
First as a little, loveable pup
And eventually as a grown
And admirable dog we grew to love.

Though we fed him leftovers from all our meals
Many times we also prepared
A special family plate just for him –
Leftovers or not.
You see, he was part of our family.
He protected us from strangers
As he barked loudly without warning
To anyone who approached our home
Especially at night.
He was sensitive to the sirens
That went off in the village –
Poor Boi Boi –
I hated it when that happened
For I knew his ears were hurting from the sound.

And now that the years have gone by
And I’m all grown up with meaningful memories to share
I can tell you that there was one special pet in my life –
My first special pet that my family shared
And his name is the one and only, “Boi Boi!”
© mnrivera and ltgumataotao

*ga’lagu: dog

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

Monday, November 03, 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 #42 titled Dos Chelus. Enjoy!

Dos Chelus

Who could believe I’d have two lovable brothers?
One is just a year older than me
And the other is two years younger.

I admit that my brothers were literally brats at times
And I loved it when they got in trouble for picking on me.
But as the years went by, things changed.

Sure, they were the ones who hid my dolls
And often they teased and pulled my hair
But I learned to forgive them
For they turned out to be my heroes in life.

I remember one day at Merizo Elementary School
When a bully pulled my hair to get my lunch money.
You kicked that bully from behind
And she never picked on me from that day on.

My Dos Chelus*
Though you got in trouble for doing that
You both said,
“It was well worth it, because you’re our blood.”

Well, that was 28 years ago,
And I’ll never forget that moment.
I’ll never forget how my feelings changed
And how you both changed as well
Becoming grown men I’ve learned to admire
And remembering that you taught me
How family is so dear.
I love you my Dos Chelus!
© mnrivera and ltgumataotao

*Dos Chelus: Two Brothers

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

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Image source: http://www.guampedia.com/


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 #41 titled Taotaomo’na and Duhendes. Enjoy!

The Taotaomo’na and Duhendes

Our elders have always told us to be careful
Especially to stay indoors when it’s late at night.
They remind us to ask permission
Whenever we do step on ancestry land
So that we do not get punished from the taotaomo’na*
They say that big eyes will watch you
Or you might get pinched.
And you may even begin to feel haunting shadows
That follow you around
Fearing you with a creepy sound.
They say you can feel little eyes
Who may be watching you from behind a bush
And low-toned voices from the duhendes*
So be careful if you’re at the boonies, especially at night
Or the taotaomo’na and duhendes may frighten you!
© mnrivera and ltgumataotao

*taotaomo’na: ghost; people of before
*duhendes: goblin, elf, ghost in the form of a dwarf


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