Monday, February 16, 2015

Ayuda Para I Komunidat

Help For The Community

The Americorp program on Guam sponsors college students to help them sustain themselves by offering service opportunities in trade for different kinds of sustenance. One of my first weekends here on Guam, Judy invited me, and any of the children, to help on a service project in Inarajan.

It was 90 degrees.
At first, Kiki, Porter, and I put up a Christmas tree and lights on the balcony of the old house Judy has been fixing up. Then, I had to drive the tiny pick-up down to the "flower house" which is the building pictured above. The entire front of this was completely covered with bougainvillea, among other things. These guys worked so hard. They had to cut the branches, load the branches in the truck (I helped with this!), and put up boards across the openings.

Not only was the heat miserable, but the branches had huge thorns which threatened any kind of zorrie and even some shoes. These guys were so smart. They took a couple of long, thick branches and laid  them down parallel on the ground and then place the rest of the cuttings across them. Then, they just picked up the long branches to lift the whole thing into the truck.

When the truck was loaded, and they PACKED it, Judy drove with me shotgun and two of the guys in back. We dumped it in a jungle where some political figure had given her permission to dump it. Well, Judy and I didn't dump it. The muscles had to do that. Which they did by using "leverage".

For you quilters out there, are your favorite scissors Fiskars? Well, did you know they make machetes. Oh yeaaaah. If you're going to live on an island, you gotta have a machete.
A couple of people were asked to clean out a cupboard under the stairs. NO, not for a boy to live under. This closet was not a good place. Decades of stuff was discovered including this wig. Someone actually asked to keep it. To sell. On Ebay. That is the world we live in, folks. Who knows how old this thing is.

The closet is nice and clean now.
This is Judy's building. I say it's Judy's but she actually just has an arrangement with the owners. They keep the building and she fixes it up. Who could turn that down, right? The great news is, the owners just recently agreed to sell to the Guam Preservation Trust, which means that the building will be restored completely as a museum/retail space downstairs, and a vacation rental space upstairs.
Judy made the inside a museum.
Then, she spent  days, weeks and months to get a two daggan kitchen to pass inspection so she could open a Hotnu, which means oven. Two daggan means two butt, but if it's a big butt, then it's pretty much uno.

This is the hotnu cleaned out.
Neighborhood kids started coming around. They would ask "How much?" for the pizza and rolls that Baker Tony would make. Then, the boys would go home and not return. Judy figured they probably didn't have enough money. So, she came up with a workshare type of system for kids, which also collaborated with school.

Every weekend, the boys will gather bamboo to bring to the hotnu and get it ready for baking. They are so respectful and helpful, and they have it all down to a very efficient routine.

The bamboo gets pushed to the back. The goods are baked in the front.
This rock sits in front of the store. It is called a lusong. It's a grinding stone which Chamorro people would use to remove the hull off of rice or to grind food. Two or four people would hold long-handled wooden pestles and pound in rhythm using the old counting system: hacha, hugua, tulu, fat-fat. Most unusual names...

This is the back side of the building. When I first came here, those doors were not there. Those were just openings, which left the building vulnerable to man and to sea. The doors had been sitting in storage for many, many moons, and now look! Put to good use, and looks like it belongs, no?

When you go up the stairs and in the side door this is what you see. The floor used to go all the way across but it was damaged by water and collapsed. Before Judy got her hands and heart on the building, there had been squatters living in there. They would throw garbage down in the hole. Squalid living. The contractor had his men sort through the garbage to separate anything that could be put to use. Can you imagine??? Gack. As Judy said, "There were hundreds of pampers down there."
Eventually, Judy would like to put a wall around this open space, possibly with some windows that look down to below.
We are very grateful to those who endured the nasty job of cleaning this out. Even if they did it because they were getting paid, it could not have been enough compensation for such an experience.
Old chandelier.

The father of this family had this desk made especially for his family. It is a very dense, heavy wood. The drawers are quite deep and each of his twelve children had their own personal "space" in these drawers. In a family this big, in a space this small, that is a touching sentiment. 

These are more old doors that Judy had in storage. You can see what the termites have done.
The family had a store downstairs with a long counter like a soda fountain.
At one time, it was also a bakery.
If you are living on Guam, and would like to take a beautiful drive to the south side of the island, what better reason than for fresh baked bread??? You can visit the museum and bakery every Saturday and Sunday until about 2 pm. Currently, it's only $5 for a pan of fresh baked, fluffy rolls, or $10 for a pizza. All made by hand by Baker Tony.

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