Settling on Guam

First Communion services in Guam, June 2015.

Where’s Fran? The answer to that blog-site question is, happily…on Guam. I have a long-term assignment on the island to assist the archbishop and work with the migrant communities. For a week now I’ve been settling in at my new home in the Dededo parish of Santa Barbara where the three diocesan priests have been very welcoming. Here I have a room and a car and, best of all, real work to do! Continue reading →

A Day or Two in DC

A recent visit to Washington, DC, with Speaker John Boehner and Representative Amata Radewagen.

This photo posted on my Facebook needs a little explanation. So let me explain. I was in Washington for two days in response to a request to help find a way to bring together Pacific Island representatives in Washington to engage in a discussion of issues that are important to them. After all, Micronesia has three ambassadors in DC (FSM, Palau and the Marshalls) not to mention the other Pacific Island embassies within the Beltway. But there are also three members of US Congress from the islands–Guam, CNMI and American Samoa. Why not try to get them together to meet occasionally on Pacific matters? Continue reading →

Hitting the Street (Literally) in New York

The Streets of New York City in the Afternoon.

I broke into a run as I tried to make a traffic light on Fordham Road and had just made it to the curb when I went sprawling to the sidewalk. Hitting the ground like that was getting to be an altogether too common experience for me–just another quirk brought on by age, I guess. Continue reading →

Dreams Before I Die…

An island grave.  (Not mine.)

Before the Angels Come to Take Me Away

Let me first assure you that I have no plans for an early death… the title was meant to be an attention-grabber. But even so, I’m 76 years old and the clock is winding down. So let me share with you a few of my own dreams that I hope may become a reality before the angels come to take me away. Continue reading →

Max Yarawamai: At Home While Away

Max Yarawamai

Max Yarawamai’s story is that of an island boy who made good. Today he owns a landscaping company on the Big Island of Hawaii that employs over 200 people and has big projects underway all over the state. Despite his success, he has not lost contact with his own people. Max, born in Ulithi, has set up clinics on his own atoll and has built a park that provides basketball, volleyball and other freetime activities for other migrants. Continue reading →

Innocenta Sound: At Home While Away

Innocenta Sound

The move to Honolulu didn’t come easily for Lukunor-born Innocenta Sound. She was uprooted suddenly to care for her father, the former lieutenant governor of Chuuk, when he went on dialysis in Hawaii. The former policewoman became a social activist even as she began full-time work with fellow migrants in a low-income neighborhood of the city. She lives out the ideal of islanders taking care of their own. Continue reading →

Lowery Lowery: At Home While Away

Lowery Lowery

Lowery Lowery, born in Kosrae, had an interest in security from the outset. After graduating from PATS, he joined the US Marines and served in Iraq. Later he became a key figure in a local security company in Hawaii. Like so many other community leaders, he has been asked to play a key role in helping his fellow migrants. Besides serving as a lay leader in his church, he has been asked to preside at community events. Continue reading →

Alice Ehmes: At Home While Away

Alice Ehmes

Many knew Alice Ehmes back in the islands, when she worked for the College of Micronesia and then served with the National Government. The competent administrator then is still the same, but now she is working for the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. You’ll see her at the computer tending her website, advising women applying for jobs, and on her favorite means of transportation. Continue reading →

Serpian Yaliweisei: At Home While Away

Serpian Yaliweisei

There’s more than enough room in a family for two or even three cultures, as Serpian Yaliweisei’s story shows. The boy from Ifaluk who once thought he might be a navigator ended up as the quality control manager for a large heavy equipment company in the outskirts of Dallas. His family redefines the term cultural melting pot; there is room for both Mexican and Micronesian music and dance. Continue reading →

Castro Mudong: At Home While Away

Castro Mudong

Salem, Oregon, is just a few miles south of Portland–one of the largest concentrations of Micronesians in the mainland US. The grandfather of the Pohnpeian community there is Castro Mudong, the former police chief on Pohnpei before moving to the US to serve for years in the Portland area. Because of his seniority Castro presides at events like the softball tournament held there last summer. Continue reading →