Friday, April 8, 2011

Hafa Adai from Guam

Hafa Adai is the way we greet people in Guam. Guam is an American island in the Pacific. Our Guam friend, Cindy Hanson, has a radio show and she invited us to be on her program. It was exciting. She asked us what we liked about Guam. We told her that the weather and beaches are wonderful plus the Chamarro culture is fascinating. On our first trip Cindy showed us many historical and cultural places including where Magellan landed in the 1500s. Cindy asked if we had seen any latte stones. Latte stones are huge stones from prehistoric times. It is thought that they were the pillars upon which the Chamarro built their houses. We replied that we did not see any latte stones. Then a wonderful thing happened! Franklin Arturo called into the show and invited us to his country place to see the latte stones on his property. It was an incredible experience. His stones are some of the largest on the Island. Even more amazing was the story Mr. Arturo told us about George Tweed, the Robinson Crusoe of the US Navy. Tweed was the radioman who escaped capture by the Japanese during WW II by hiding for nearly three years in caves on Guam. He was the only American to survive the Japanese occupation of Guam. The Japanese searched for him every day while he was in hiding. During most of that time the Arturo family brought him supplies and kept the fact that they were hiding him a tight secret. When the Marines landed in Guam, Tweed signaled the American ships with flags he had made and a pocket mirror. He warned the military about the Japanese gun placements and asked to be rescued. Within five minutes of receiving his message rescue was on the way. He was rescued on July 10, 1944. While in hiding Tweed figured the government owed him $6000 in back pay. That was enough to buy a house in the 1940s. Tweed asked Mr. Arturo what he would if he had that much money. Arturo said he’d buy a four-door Chevy. Tweed returned to Guam in 1945, bringing a Chevrolet to Mr. Arturo as a gift from the president of General Motors. Franklin Arturo shared his Tweed scrapbook with us. Truly an amazing day. There are a lot of caves on Guam. When the American army won the island from the Japanese some Japanese soldiers refused to surrender and hid in the caves. Some hid for years. We had lunch with Cindy and her son, Ezequiel at Jeff’s Pirate Cove and learned another amazing story. The restaurant is located where the last WW II Japanese soldier on Guam, Shoichi Yokoi, surrendered in 1972. He had lived in a cave in a remote part of the island for 28 years. He said he knew the war was over because he heard American music but remained hiding because he was afraid the Americans would kill him. The story along with news articles are posted on the wall of the restaurant. Every place has amazing stories. We also visited the fourth grade in Tamuning Elementary School. It is the same school we visited two years ago. We showed them a power point about schools around the world. Because Guam is an American territory they follow the same curriculum as students in the rest of the United States. They drew pictures for us and gave us some local food. We love to visit schools. Some days we just enjoyed the pool and beach at the Hyatt Hotel.