Students share Micronesian island traditions during Charter Day
Student organizations from Micronesian island states showcased traditions and cultures from home during the 55th Charter Day celebration at the University of Guam on March 2.
The Chuuk Student Organization performed a chant as its members guided guests to its hut, humming and mimicking how a canoe is greeted as it enters through a lagoon channel.
Inside the hut, the organization’s members explained how a traditional Chuukese home is set up to recognize the different roles of the mother and father in a household. There are tools in the house that the father can use to protect the household, and it’s the mother’s role to keep it homey, according to some of the students.
Ramsey Narruhn also explained to guests how courtship plays out and how different items used in everyday life, such as a canoe paddle, is kept in a traditional home.
Narruhn is a business administration student who is the son of the current Chuuk Gov. Alexander Narruhn.
Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero, while judging the hut, recognized the Narruhn last name and asked Ramsey if he is the Chuuk governor's son.
The governor recalled a conversation with the Chuuk governor, saying: “He told me his son is going to UOG.”
The younger Narruhn said he’d like to share what he learned in the field of business administration back home.
At the Yap Student Organization hut, Jamaleen Waayan, Sonya Nabetin and Alice Fidngamang were showing how to make flower leis and weave baskets using coconut fronds. They learned the skills growing up, they said.
The students from Yap also showed traditional ways to prepare food such as boiling bananas in coconut milk and wrapping chicken with the bark of palms before steaming.
“It feels good showing a part of my culture,” Nabetin said.
Outside the Pohnpei Student Organization booth, business administration student Elianson Manuel wore a traditional wrap while demonstrating how to squeeze the juice out of the barks of hibiscus plants as part of a kava ceremony.
He grew up learning that a pounding ceremony to make kava is performed as part of a coming-of-age celebration, usually when a child turns 18.
Manuel chose to attend UOG after his cousins got their education from Guam's only University.
Once he completes his business degree, Manuel also plans to go back home, to help build a better economic future for his home state.
“I remember my father taught me to give back to my community,” he said.
The winners of the hut competition are: