(Yap, Micronesia) A group of master craftsman on Yap are using cultural skills and traditional designs to create trophies for winning athletes in that Micronesian State’s sports tournament.
The Fifth Annual Yap Games opened to a large crowd in mid-July at the Yap Sports Complex Gymnasium. Nearly 900 athletes, representing 10 municipalities across Yap, are competing in a dozen separate sports. Among the most popular are basketball, soccer and wrestling, according to Paul Lane, Director of Yap's Sports Council.
Organizers have partnered with Waa’gey, a group organizing efforts of local carvers, to developed distinctive traditionally inspired trophies. These symbols of reward and recognition are modeled after the “Carolina Proa,” a complex all wood outrigger canoe design perfected -and made famous- by Micronesians
Habele’s volunteers and donors are working to stock a school-based library in Pohnpei, answering the request of local educators on that Micronesian Island.
Temwen School is a small and rural Elementary school in the Madolenihmw municipality of Pohnpei. Temwen School has a small staff of seven teachers and one Peace Corps Volunteer; the Principal Elcid Joseph is a teaching principal.
In earlier times, Temwen was the governmental and power center of the island; in recent years that has shifted to other parts of the island more focused on FSM government issues. This has limited the community’s, and school’s, access to educational resources.
Sadly, students at Temwen School have never been exposed to reading for pleasure and reading levels are low across the board. In all of Temwen there has never been a library; no place for the community members to research a topic or enjoy a book on a sunny day. The new community library at Temwen Elementary School will not only benefit the students of Temwen Elementary School – it will benefit all of Temwen!
The library is being built from scratch. Staff members of Temwen Elementary School have worked tirelessly to salvage books from all different areas of the school grounds. Recently, there has been a renovation of an older structure of the campus and this is where the new library will be held.
Book donations are vital for this project to succeed, with that being said it would be great to get roughly half fiction, and half non-fiction books that could serve US reading levels Kindergarten through eighth grade. Reference books, and recent magazines are also welcomed, as they could serve the wider community and create a more welcoming space for people of all ages.
Today was an exciting day for the 32 Outer Island seniors who determined to finish their final year of high school, despite having been displaced by the violence of Typhoon Maysak. Every one of the seniors completed their classes today, and are ready to graduate!
After the storm destroyed their local high schools, these students were transferred to Yap, where they finished out the school year at the Yap High School campus. Fortunately, the dedicated Peace Corps teachers - Caroline, Tianna, Patrick and John - were able to continue teaching the students who they were formally serving on the Outer Islands. A big thanks to these hardworking teachers who have put so much into the students!
Living thousands of miles away from the wreckage of Typhoon Maysak hasn't stifled the enthusiasm and generosity of Habele's donors and volunteers.
Just this week, Rachel and Derek of Washington, DC, responded to the plight of Outer Island students by gathering, packing and shipping out an assortment of school supplies and toiletries! As a former Peace Corps Volunteer to Micronesia, Rachel has experienced firsthand the tremendous excitement and benefit that even simple supplies can provide for island children.
Many thanks to Rachel and Derek for the supplies, and for the kindness that motivating your donation!
The ongoing needs of students and families on Micronesia's Outer Islands are significant. Donations like these go a long way in meeting those needs. Already, Habele donors have been able to encourage students displaced by the storm.
Additionally, Habele's network of volunteers have been working to deliver sustainable, traditional food sources to devastated communities on islands like Faraulep and Piik.
Please share this with friends and family. It makes a big difference!
To donate directly to Habele's ongoing work in Moving Past Maysak:
or send check or money order to Habele, 701 Gervais St, STE 150-244, Columbia, SC 29201.
Habele is a tax exempt, all-volunteer, US based nonprofit with a proud history of high impact support for our partners in Micronesia.
Micronesia's remote Outer Islands were fortunate enough to receive emergency supplies of food and water immediately after the destruction of Typhoon Maysak. These rations are crucial for short term survival, but the need to revive traditional, sustainable food sources is an ongoing need.
Volunteers with Waa'gey - a Habele partner organization - have jumped in to help bolster relief work with a long-term food solution for some of Yap State's most isolated Outer Islands.
Drawing on traditional and local knowledge of storm relief, Waa'gey volunteers collected over fifty baskets of traditional crop seedlings, which they will personally deliver to the atolls of Faraulep and Piik. Inside the baskets are over 500 plants, including taro, banana, tapioca, sweet potatoes and even mahogany trees. These are familiar crops, identified by islanders as the most targeted means of helping remote communities regain self-sufficiency.
|Lagoon in Ulithi Atoll.|
Habele donors and volunteers often ask questions about the daily lives of the people who live thousands of miles away in beautiful Micronesia. Go here to read, "Where is Micronesia?"
The Outer Islands of Yap provide a fascinating look into traditional island culture and lifestyle. Even today, many remote islands and atolls live in much the same way as they have for millenia.
Outer Islanders live in small villages facing the calm waters of the atoll’s lagoon. The lagoon provides a shallow, safe location for washing, swimming, gathering fish and shellfish, and launching canoes. This is an extremely valuable feature, considering that these tiny strips of land are surrounded by millions of square miles of some of the deepest water on Earth!
|The beautiful atoll of Ulithi (Yap State) is a picturesque example|
of one of Micronesia's many Outer Islands
Since Typhoon Maysak ravaged Micronesia, many Habele donors and volunteers to the “Moving Past Maysak” effort have been asking basic questions about this remote and beautiful region.
Where is Micronesia?
“Micronesia” is an umbrella term for a region in the Western Pacific Ocean. This massive section of the Pacific is over 3 million square miles, with thousands of islands scattered throughout. These islands are grouped together in six different sovereign countries. One of these island nations is the “Federated States of Micronesia,” also referenced as the “FSM.” The term “Micronesia” is most commonly used to refer to the 600 islands and atolls making up the FSM.
These islands are themselves grouped into four states: Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk, and Yap. Kosrae is the state furthest to the east (toward Hawaii), with Yap being the westernmost state (closest to the Philipines). Each of these states have distinct cultures, languages, and natural resources.