Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Life in the Islands

We have been here for over a month now! We are enjoying the island life! We want to share some of the things we have learned!

Schools: Here on Guam schools are very similar to the states. They have elementary, middle schools and high schools, what is different is when you get to the islands. The large islands have a school and in the morning the high school students attend and in the afternoon the elementary students attend. When you go to the smaller island there are no schools so they either sent them by boat to school (very expensive) or they live with relatives so they can go to school. Some island children do not attend school at all, they are raise on the island and learn from their parents to live off the land and fish for food. It is hard to believe when you live in the US all your life that there are people who live simple lives and are educated by their elders. In the office we work in, there is a department that is working on education on many of the islands. There is a fund that will send students to the university and pay for it so they can come back and teach on the islands.

Living: We live in a two bedroom apartment, we have most of the luxury items from home. We have air conditioning, washing machine (no dryer) we see many of the people in the apartment complex we live in that do not have the money to pay for air conditioning and so all there windows are open to hopefully let a breeze in. Many of them spend evenings on the balcony smoking and enjoying the cooler air. We have no dishwasher, we hang our clothes up to dry in the apartment where the air conditioning dries out the air enough for the clothes to dry.

Weather: It is hot and humid here and the temperature is pretty much the same year round. We were told that in the dry season it rains once a day and the wet season several times a day. It can be a clear day and then the clouds will come in and it will pour for about five minutes and then the sun comes out. We have had one day when it rained on and off all day. They do have typhoons here, we have not had one here in Guam but there was a typhoon on Saipan the island north of Guam at the beginning of August we went to visit the island two weeks ago and most of the island was still without power.  Most of the traffic lights did not work. We had a difficult time trying to rent a car for the day. We went to help with computers, some were plugged into a surge protector but if they were not they are no longer working. We are starting to get use to the weather but we enjoy being in our air conditioned office and apartment. We set our air conditioner at 78 and think that is cool!
On a side note, they also have earthquakes. We haven't had one yet that we have felt
Food: it is expensive here, milk (comes in 3 quart size) is around $10, most food cost about twice what we paid in the states some things even more. They do have some of the restaurants we have in the states, Applebee’s, Ihop, Ruby Tuesday, Outback, TGI Friday’s, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, etc. They are about three times as expensive as in the states. Ihop is just a little more than in the states. We haven’t been to most of the American Restaurants we have found it’s less expensive to go to local restaurants. There is a Japanese Restaurant and for $12 you get a main dish, salad, rice and soup, we went to Outback once and it was very expensive and the food was terrible!

Family History Fair!

A Stake Family History Fair was held on Saturday the 26th of September in the Barrigada Stake center focusing on helping people get started on Family History and using various resources to move the work along with the goal of preparing to do the work for our ancestors.
The featured presenter was the well renowned Tony Ramirez who both entertained and informed the attendees with stories about the history of the people of the islands and their relationship to the environment and the spirits.
There was an excellent presentation by Guampedia  entitled “Hasso I Guinahan Guahan” that showcased the people and culture of the people and their wonderful history. Two gentlemen came from Saipan where they focused on helping the youth to learn how to learn from the elders of the family and preserve family stories.
Other presentations focused on the techniques and tools to be used in gathering and recording family stories and organizing the results. The hands on approach to Family Search.org and What DNA testing can do to help you find your distant roots and enhance your Genealogical search efforts was a big success.
The flowers we have are called marmar, the woman wear them on their head and the men wear theirs around their neck.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Spam... not email

Spam is a big thing here on Guam (Saipan, too).......
There are several varieties of Spam in the grocery store, pineapple spam, spicy spam, teriyaki spam, garlic spam, bacon spam etc.
Yes this is spam sushi 
This is at the local McDonald's, yes you can have this all day! White rice, scrambled eggs and spam!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Suicide Cliff

This Suicide Cliff, Japanese soldiers would jump and kill themselves rather than be captured. They also convince women and children to jump. This was during World War II.
The whole island is a big tourist attraction for the people from Japan.

This is a monument at Banzai cliff another place that people jumped to their death.

Bird Island

This is Bird Island on the east side of the island of Saipan.

This is the Grotto, it use to be a cave but the roof collapsed so now they 
use it to swim and scuba dive in. 

Saipan 2

More pictures of this beautiful Island. This is the Last Japanese Command Post from World War II

Home with a view

If you would like a view like the one we had at the top, this house is for sale! We don't know the price but it has an observation room and a swimming pool (in case you don't want to drive down to the beach). We were told it would sell for millions of dollars!


Wednesday, September 16 we flew to Saipan. They had a typhoon on August 2 and the church met for the first time on September 13. We spent the morning helping with computer issues and talked about the difficulties for doing family history in Saipan. Many are still without power.

This is the Brother & Sister Wiswell (She is the Family History Consultant for the ward). We helped them with some issues at the Family History Center (FHC) and then after we had lunch they took us to visit some of the sites on Saipan. In the picture above, we are on the highest point on the island. You can see the Pacific Ocean on the east and the Philippines Sea on the west. Below are some of the pictures we took there.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

What do we do?

We Start our day off at the Family History Office, it is located at the LDS Service Building. The church building and Mission Office are all together.

We are working on obtaining records that were begun by the previous couple that were here on Guam. We are currently digitizing records at the MARC (Micronesia Area Research Center) that is located at the University of Guam.

We are also following up with the Governor of Guam who said he would sign the contract to digitized the Vital Records of Guam. The legislature has approved it and now the Attorney General is making sure there is not issue with people's privacy.

We will be going in October to Pohnpei, the church is digitizing microfilms from there. They have 50 films in Salt Lake City now that they are working on, the films are corrupted by the environment and poor storage. We are going to visit and try to obtain additional records to digitize for the government.

We also work with patrons on family search, we assist in training directors and consultants. We also give presentations on Family History to the wards.

This week we spent a day in Saipan this week, I will post pictures in the next blog. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

War Dog Memorial

We stopped at the War Dog Memorial! These were dogs who fought with the Marines in Guam during the 2nd World War.

Trip to the beach

Saturday we went to the Naval bases with the other senior couples. These are some pictures of this beautiful island!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Our apartment

We arrived in Guam that evening and were off to our apartment!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Off to Guam

Tuesday morning on the way to the airport we stopped at a Buddhist Temple.
 Then we were off to Guam! We enjoyed our time in Japan thanks to Keiji who was a wonderful host.

We arrived in Guam on August 18, 2015! We were met by Elder & Sister Martin!

Trip to Japan

Friday we departed for Japan! After flying to Portland, Oregon we changed planes and had an eleven hour flight to Toyko, Japan. There we were picked up by Keiji Sugimoto. He took us to a hotel where we would spend the next three nights, since we had crossed several time zones he had some fruit and water and dropped us off to get some sleep.

Sunday morning we went to church with him and his family. His daughter and son-in-law translated the meetings for us. That evening we spent with his family (two sons, their wife's, each had three children, his daughter and her husband and four children) His wife was in the states with his other daughter who just gave birth to a second child. They made pot stickers, they even let me try, with great teachers I was able to make a few.

Monday Keiji drove us downtown to the church office building, we spend the day learning more about the mission we would be serving in Guam. We went to a small restaurant for lunch, We had a fish on the plate with rice and a variety of other condiments.

                                                 Art & Keiji at the Tokyo Temple

             That evening we went to a Sushi Bar and of course had sushi with his family!