As educators adapt to a new way of learning, this dedicated CHamoru teacher is bringing lessons right to your home through her Let’s Cha-CHamoru Youtube channel.
Sinora Flo Mesa is from the beautiful island of Luta. Amongst many admirable qualities, Flo is an advocate, teacher, and protector of the CHamoru culture. She was raised by her grandparents, who taught her to speak CHamoru fluently and instilled the values of geftao, respetu, and guinaiya.
In 2006, Mesa moved to Guam. She recalled the initial surprise she would receive when she communicated with other CHamoru speakers as a teenager.
Surprised reactions revealed themselves as positive ones, which instilled a sense of joy within Flo. After recognizing that she possessed invaluable knowledge of the CHamoru language, she decided to share it with others.
Mesa poured her heart and soul into her teaching, working as an elementary CHamoru teacher under the Guam Department of Education. She found fun and interactive ways to engage her students in her lessons, often using singing, dancing, and laughter as tools to encourage learning.
However, when the pandemic struck our island, Sinora Mesa, and so many educators alike, had to adjust to a new way of teaching. No longer being able to teach in person, Mesa chose to look at the positive aspects of online learning, which served as her inspiration to create “Let’s Cha-CHamoru.”
“We were inspired by the pandemic. Others would say, ‘Aii sa’ pandemic,’ but there’s always two sides of a story. So for us, we looked at the negative and we looked at the positive outcome which is hey we can still teach it using the new norm, using the new platform which is online,” Mesa said.
With her family members’ support, Flo produces content for her Let’s Cha-CHamoru Youtube Channel every Tuesday and Thursday. Mesa plans to incorporate lessons that viewers can apply to everyday life, emphasizing that learning CHamoru is as easy as “1,2, cha-cha-cha.”
Although Flo is well versed in teaching CHamoru to a younger audience, she says that Let’s Cha-CHamoru’s content is for anyone who wishes to learn CHamoru.
“We hope to catch everyone who is interested and everyone who wants to share the language and culture to their kids, their grandkids, or nieces and nephews, or even if they don’t have kids! We do want to inspire and to get those people who are interested, whether it’s students or adults, everyone. Because it is our part to share it, it is our part to know who we are,” Mesa said.
Flo remains grateful for her fellow CHamoru teachers’ support and everyone who had a hand in helping her grow as an educator. To learn more, subscribe to Sinora Mesa’s Youtube Channel for content every Tuesday and Thursday, and visit letschacha.org for more details.