Marshall Islands

 

Celebration of the International Day of People with Disability in the RMI

Posted by Nolan Sutker in Marshall Islands

WorldTeach volunteer Anna O’Brien (a second year volunteer at the Majuro Deaf Education Center in the Marshall Islands) is a proud teacher of 12th grader, Talianna Peter, a student at the Majuro Deaf Education Center. Last week, Talianna was asked to give a special speech at the opening ceremony in celebration of the International Day of People with Disability. Aligned with the theme for this year’s IDPD is “Transformation Towards Sustainable and Resilient Society for All”. According to IDPD, the 2030 agenda pledges to “leave no one behind”. When growing up, Talianna saw distinguishing differences living in two countries: Hawaii and the Marshall Islands. Her interest was piqued when she quickly noticed that deaf people in the Marshall Islands were…

In Memory

Posted by Nolan Sutker in Marshall Islands, News & Highlights, Uncategorized

The Marshallese word “Yokwe” has multiple meanings and contexts. It is a greeting, a noun, and a verb, all the same. On a wooden sign to the side of the James C. de Brueys – WorldTeach Memorial Basketball Court on the Bikarej atoll in Arno, Marshall Islands, it means “to bid farewell”. On November 26, 2010, locals Baby Kaiko and her unborn child, Kiotak Jorsam, Anwel Ninne, and WorldTeach volunteer, James Clifton de Brueys were lost at sea as they attempted a short journey from Bikarej to Maduro. James was approaching his 23rd birthday at the time and had become a welcome member of the approximate 200 member Arno community. After his death, his family created the James de Brueys…

The Seeds You Sow

Posted by Nolan Sutker in Marshall Islands, News & Highlights

Written by Bethany Fisher (current WorldTeach Marshall Islands volunteer) The island of Wotje is known for having good soil to grow a multiplicity of crops. However, since the El Nino draught of 2016, the extreme heat and lack of rain that swept through the RMI dried up most of the gardens on Wotje. Despite this setback, a group of students from Northern Islands High School on Wotje have succeeded in growing some vegetables this year. As a new school project for the grade 9 and Pre-9 students, they have been learning how to grow a garden. English and Agriculture classes have found a happy blend this year for the NIHS freshman students. Our freshman English class of 81 students started…

Sights without Sounds

Posted by Nolan Sutker in Marshall Islands, News & Highlights

Written by Cari Deschak, RMI ’15 One innocuous half-wall of a Washington DC gallery holds a ringed twist of scrap metal. That description could include many art pieces at their most elemental, especially here along the cutting edge of modern artistic license, but this one must have been magnetic. It shot me a pulse of unexpected familiarity. My sister appraised me as I stood in the gallery’s center jabbing my finger at it, words having yet to escape my open mouth. “That’s it!” I finally managed, exclamation point voiced by re-throwing my fully-outstretched arm. “What’s it?” “I mean I’ve tried to describe … I can’t believe it’s perfect the … can’t be an accident, that’s it!” I was awarded a…

The Importance of Choice

Posted by Nolan Sutker in Marshall Islands, News & Highlights

The Importance of Choice by Christian Colo (RMI ’16) It’s another Monday morning as I wake up to the sound of lagoon waves lapping against the shore mere feet from my house. I look out my doorway towards the cookhouse and see smoke rising: breakfast time. Mama is hard at work as she flips hot pancakes off the coconut husk fire that she has been tending all morning. She already has a steaming stack waiting for me with a boiled fish caught just the night before. Within a few minutes, I am walking past breadfruit, banana, and coconut trees as I make my daily commute along the dirt path that leads to the school. As I unlock the door and…

A Love Story to the RMI

Posted by Nolan Sutker in Marshall Islands, News & Highlights

A Love Song to the RMI I hum softly as you drift off in my arms. I watch as Mary breaks off from her twittering friends and wanders through the party in our direction. She doesn’t bother to make eye contact when she speaks; we gaze off at the same middle-distance, unmindful of the festivities. That is your baby? No. Whose baby? He is Likto’s baby. There is a pause in the conversation while Mary mulls over this apparently new information and I wonder how anything is ever news on this little island. You gurgle softly. Your mother is Wijlang? Yes. Likto mother is Wijlang. Yes. Likto is your sister. That is your baby. The tone of finality in Mary’s…

Breaking Stereotypes

Posted by Nolan Sutker in Marshall Islands, News & Highlights

Submitted by WorldTeach Volunteer Teacher, Lauren Hostovsky Albert’s Story  As some of you might already know, two-thirds of the people in the Marshall Islands live on less than $1 a day. Job opportunities in Ebeye are limited due to overpopulation on this tiny island. This has made it more difficult for people with disabilities to get a job, however Albert is breaking the stereotype. It’s been two months already since he got a part time job at Triple J (supermarket) in Ebeye. As far as I know, he is the first Deaf man to have a job in Ebeye. Albert has shown everyone that being deaf doesn’t stop him from working and making a living. I would like to give…

What Had I Gotten Myself Into?

Posted by Nolan Sutker in Marshall Islands, News & Highlights

By WorldTeach Marshall Islands volunteer Smitty McGowan, 2015 The tiny boat rocked up and down the gargantuan waves, tossed around like a child playing with toys. While the boat seemed to be no match for the ocean, it appeared that we had formed some kind of a symbiotic relationship. Poseidon allowed us to live as long as we filled that void of space. If we did our job and did not disturb him too much, our boat continued to rise up to the peaks and race back down to the valleys. An unstable relationship, the simplest mistake could send us toppling. What had I gotten myself into? There I was, sitting on the bow of the boat. My spirits were…

The Friendliest People in the Pacific

Posted by Nolan Sutker in Marshall Islands, News & Highlights

This week’s blog post is a throwback to 2009 when Marci McPhee was a volunteer in the Marshall Islands. Marci volunteered while on a leave of absence from Brandeis University. “When you live on a small island that is sometimes no wider than the road you are walking on, and at high tide only inches above sea level, your only two choices are to change the way you think and live, or go home.” – Jack Niedenthal, For the Good of Mankind: A History of the People of Bikini and their Islands, xi. (Bikini is one of the Marshall Islands) It took me awhile to realize that the children were calling to me when they chanted “ribelle, ribelle!” (“white person” in…

Presence

Posted by Nolan Sutker in Marshall Islands, News & Highlights, Uncategorized

This post is an excerpt from Claire Svoboda’s blog, a WorldTeach Marshall Islands 2015-2016 volunteer. See below for the link to more of her blog posts. I have realized lately that I need time to myself for reflection, meditation, and re-finding my purpose of why I am where I am. It’s easy to get lost in all of this madness of being in a different place with varying scales of positivity, focus, and meaning. Some days I feel so heavy with negativity and try to remember why I am here on this island in the middle of the Pacific. I read the other day that: “There would seem to be nothing more obvious, more tangible and palpable than the present…