by: Jocelyn Duenas
O’ beautiful island of Guåhan!
Your clear, warm waters caress my bare feet with welcoming splendor! Beneath the surface; another world unfolds. Your fish glide through the waves with ease but dare not approach danger. The big, the small, and the in between. The blues, the yellows, and even the greens. Your vast, blessed windows reveals details I could never have seen anywhere else. Your people–spoiled to the core–for having a wondrous grandeur.
Do you know?
Do you know you possess one of the world’s treasures just beyond your shores? A trench so deep and mysterious lay dormant with secrets aplenty just waiting to be seen. To embark requires ambition and to explore even more. What irony it be to have oceanic transparency and invisibility simultaneously. You are small in stature but never fret. They say the smallest can be the mightiest. Strong. That you are without a doubt. It is a testament to your tribulations both past and present. Your rich cultural history; most of it tarnished. Yet, even so, the pride of the land still strides. History has done its worst but to prevail brings union. Hope and devotion drives your people. With it, I can say that I, too, strive to keep it alive.
O beautiful island of Guåhan!
The land of ancestors past whose spirits guard the luscious greenery they once dwelled. Many believe and feel their presence. Although they’ve no physical form, the beings once once truly alive still are from the soil to the trees. Everything is theirs for the living to borrow. Never forget to ask permission for the land itself is a temporary resource that shalt not be abused. To offer such is the true way; lest your desire discipline.
The descendants thrive and still revere these basic principles. Long have the ancestors passed but their customs continue on. Few, however, possess the knowledge. This saddens me.
Guåhan you are small and strong, but can you survive?
It takes a village and with you there are many. They know you well but what of the scattered herd? Do they know how small and strong you are? Can they help you survive? Is there a way the herd returns to the shepherd and strive with you once more? I, like others, have found our way. Now the rest, I digress, hope it does not fall at my dismay.
O beautiful island of Guåhan!
You are your own identity. Never give in to the slander of the uninformed! To those who already knew, thank you. To the rest, I pass along the message of those before. My land is not Hawai’i or Samoa; nor Fiji or Tahiti. Not Polynesia or Melanesia but Micronesia: the island of Guam.
A place where the sun kisses soft, sandy beaches, grazes coconut palms, and, somehow, manages to rain and shine in the North and the South.
A place where the generosity and welcoming presence of Her people reign dominant over Her beauty.
A place I know is small, but strong.
One day, She hopes that you shall see in flesh what I have seen. Then, and maybe then, you too can hear Her people say:
Håfa adai che’lu! Kao maolek hao?
Hello friend! How are you?