Guam – The Governor of Chuuk Johnson Elimo is on Guam meeting with Chuukese who have migrated to the island. The main purpose of his visit is to understand some of the challenges that the Chuukese community is facing and to find ways to address them in order to improve Chuukese relations with their host communities.
“I came out as a state visit, visiting my people. Really, this is the first time for me to come out to Guam and learn of the problems that have been ongoing with my people.” Governor Elimo is on Guam touring elementary schools, holding community meetings and visiting places like the Department of Youth Affairs to see first hand some of the problems the Chuukese community is faced with on Guam.
More and more Chuukese are ending up in Guam’s prison system many with alcohol and violence related crimes. More and more Chuukese youth are ending up in the Department of Youth Affairs. Governor Elimo says it is an issue of culture shock.
“I realize that we at the state level have failed to do some programs in orienting them to understand the places that they are going to face before leaving our islands and that is one thing that I am committed to endorse from here on for the future migrants coming out to places like Guam, Honolulu and even the mainland to understand what to expect.”
Elimo had the chance to meet with children of Chuukese decent who are currently in the DYA. DYA Director Adonis Mendiola began by giving him a tour of the after school program that DYA operates in Toto gardens low cost housing area. After seeing some of the services offered there he then toured the detention facility in Mangilao where he had the chance to speak with some of DYA’s Chuukese clients. “Whatever problem you have especially for those Chuukese I understand that problems rest with cultural difference you know you’re raised up with the parents from Chuuk been from Chuuk and raised up in a different environment,” said Governor Elimo.
He told them to appreciate what they have here on Guam. “You are very blessed because you have the privilege of going to school in these types of schools back home we don’t have too much luxury of the resources like good classrooms many programs to enjoy we don’t have them back home you are very privileged being raised in Guam and going to school in Guam,” said Governor Elimo.
He told them to have respect which is a key part of the Chuukese culture. “When we are raised up we learn how to respect our elders and that will take you throughout all facets of life the respect,” said Govenor Elimo.
He also told them to avoid fights. “If anybody wanna punch your face just walk away he’g gonna punch nothing but if you stand up then you get into trouble by retaliating,” said Governor Elimo.
The Governor of Chuuk says he’s trying his best to understand the situation and the problems faced by both his people and their host communities in order to come up with solutions. “I just like to end with pleading to my Chuukese citizens living on Guam to respect the culture of Guam and also teach our kids raised up on Guam to know the cultural values on our own culture most especially to respect to teach them how to respect each other in the family and outside in the community,” said Elimo.
The governor says he is also planning on working with the Guam Department of Education to help them with any problems they may be encountering with Chuukese students.