Wednesday, March 10, 2010

7742- Thank You the Island Way

Whenever I visit the U.S. Pacific Island Jurisdictions, I am treated like a king. The islanders really know how to make you feel welcome and go the extra mile to make your stay really pleasant. In the States, our partners do the same for us, taking us around to see the sights, maybe go shopping or to a baseball game. They also really pay attention to the effects of the time difference and jet lag.

One of our long standing project officers will be resigning in a year or two. This means slowly letting go of the PIJ project areas. He has been a champion for the Pacific for more than a decade working out funding and resources that our people can not live without. I am glad that I had at least 3 years under his guidance and experienced immense support for the work that I do. It was my Guahan counterpart, Bernie that had the brilliant idea to take Thom and his wife, Yolanda, out for dinner and to thank him with gifts island style.

Thom had no clue what was going on. Here's brilliant Bernie pretending that we were nervous about our presentations and that we needed some time with Thom to prepare. It was nice to surprise him.

One of the things I'll always remember for is his affinity for taking lots and lots of pictures. We decided to go to a Mexican restaurant called Jalapeno Jack's.

Bernie and the crowning of the king! She was having a hard time maneuvering Thom's fro!
...and our queen. The mwarmwars were from Palau and the leis from Guahan. The mwars were made with artificial flowers since real ones wouldn't have checked out of customs but they were really beautifully made.

The Guahan folks: Bernie, Thom, ate Liz and Yolanda.
James is from Yap, Federated States of Micronesia. The last time I saw him was in 2007 in Pohnpei.
Dr. Zach and Roy with giving some gorgeous shell mwars and necklaces from the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Dr. Zach is based on the main island and Roy is from Ebye.
Roy and I were in Chicago in 2008. It was the first time to see snow for the both of us!
Our couple lookin' smart!
I gave Thom the higam hima: Hacha that I made. He was really appreciative and said he'd make a make a shadow box for it. I also gave away some CNMI quarters.
I gave Yolanda a necklace I made from Spondylus. I shaped one as an alahas and kept one in the natural shape of the spiny oyster.
Hana and Alene from the Republic of Palau gave a beautiful painting of a Palauan chief's house, coconut crafts and some trochus shell and pearl necklace and earings.
Yolanda was excited about a woven pandanus bag from Guahan. I didn't get to take pictures of the American Samoan's who gave tapa cloths to the couple. I think I was caught up in the celebration that I forgot to record the moment in pictures.

At the end of our dinner, a woman came up and asked if we were celebrating a birthday and if we were from Hawaii. I had to explain to her that it was a change to an era, a changing of the guards for all of us in the PIJs. Good luck, Thom. God bless you and Si Yu’us Ma’ase.

Ti napu.

The Beachcomber