Sunday, November 23, 2014

November in Guam

Its been good to be here on Guam for the last two and a half months without the interruption of travel.  I feel like we have been able to put our roots down a little deeper as we get to know and work with the people of the Barrigada Stake.

The rainy season is giving way to drier weather here on Guam, although the temperatures remain in the 80s.  Less rain means stunning sunsets.  We are treated to beautiful displays like this one nearly every evening as well leave our office.  This was the view from our parking lot at the Service Center earlier this month.

Our Family History Consultant Training for November included some exercises with the FamilySearch Sandbox.  We have a great team of adults and youth.

Early Saturday, November 15 we drove down to the little village of Umatac on the southwestern coast of Guam, the supposed landing spot of Magellan in 1521.  Here a fisherman wades back to shore with his catch.

Umatac is famous, or infamous, as the epicenter of an ALS-Parkinsonism- Dementia complex which at its height in the 1950s afflicted 420 out of every 100,000 on Guam.  Scientists have tried to determine if the disease is genetic or environmental but no definitive explanation has been found.  One positive outcome of the research is a comprehensive study of Chamorro genealogy done by a biological anthropologist which I helped process at the Micronesia Research Center at the University of Guam.   I have found it to be very useful in doing Chamorro Family History.

Grant and I hiked the coastline from Umatac south to Toguan Bay at low tide. Much of it is rugged weathered limestone (karst) interspersed with lava flows.  The tide pools were full of crabs, fish and coral.

We continue to work with  families and individuals as they prepare to go to the temple or just get started with their family history. Grant is helping William, a great YSA, put his Pingelapese (Dad's side) and Marshallese (Mom's side) family into FamilySearch.

Yesterday morning we hiked the beach at Tarague on Andersen Air Force Base at the north eastern tip of Guam.  Its always quiet and deserted up there.

This time we struck inland and followed a dirt road through the old Atikns-Kroll copra plantation which operated from 1914 until the beginning of WWII.

Northern Guam is all limestone, no lava.  I love the patterns in the weathered coral on the beaches.

On the way home we stopped at Tanguisson Beach to collect shells. (I am that little dot in the distance.)  It was a perfect afternoon.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Youth challenge - Reef shelf walks - Friends - Missionaries - Halloween - Day of the Dead

Dededo Ward Young Women working on the Youth Challenge - to find and take the name of at least one ancestor to the temple.

Great youth family history consultant helping the young women. 

Ubiquitous -  blue linckialaevigata - star fish.

Jeanette with friends Susan Alik (from Marshall Islands) and Rose Laanan (Guam) 

Mangolia Dun - from Burma via New Jersey, serving in U.S. Navy and on her way to Virginia. 

Tidal pool 

Sea urchins or tuitui - very sharp and barbed as Grant found out - islanders crack them open and eat raw insides. 

Gorgeous clam hiding on the reef flat. 

Grant at "Lost Pond" - a fresh water pool about 50 yards from the beach. 

Near Taguisson Beach on the west of Guam. 

Elders Murdoch and Malais in from Palau for some leadership training and family history. 

Also, in from Palau were Sisters Purcell and Talakai .

Barrigada Guam Ward Halloween Party starting with pie eating contest and musical chairs - followed by a chili cook off.  This must be required of all Church units worldwide nowadays. 

Sunday was "Day of the Dead" a sort of Catholic event where people remember their dead.  Primarily they picnic on the graves - we have a better way!