Inafa’maolek (making things better) is one of the core values of our Chamoru culture. It means living harmoniously with each other, i tano (the land), i tasi (the ocean), and i gåga siha (the animals), and working together to make things right.
There is a balance in nature: the sun sets and the moon rises, the mango trees only bear fruit in the dry season, not all the new-born turtles make it to the ocean. This is nature’s way of keeping things in check. We humans are a part of this natural balance, and have the responsibility to keep it. Practicing inafa’maolek with nature is simple: take only what you need.
Some people (including myself at one point) could mistake inafa’maolek as a tit-for-tat, an eye-for-an-eye kind of thing, when it really isn’t. I’m still learning! When you do something to help someone, it should be out of the goodness of your heart, and not for anything in return, not even a thank you. Karma does its thing, and soon enough, when you are in need, someone will help you out of the goodness of his/her heart. We give, and someone will give back. I think it’s so beautiful because it is literally the human expression of nature’s love and the circle of life.
Inafa’maolek can be shown/done in so many ways, and sometimes you do it without even realizing it. Inafa’maolek is most commonly practiced by giving chenchule’ (a support system of exchange in which families express their care and concern for each other, as well as a sense of obligation to each other while working together to help each family meet its needs by means of money, labor, gifts, or food – def. from http://www.guampedia.com/chenchule/). Inafa’maolek and chenchule’ go hand-in-hand.
I encourage you all to continue (or start) to make inafa’maolek a part of your daily lives. Help your neighbor move the tree that fell down in their yard after the typhoon. Give your niece and extra dollar in her confirmation card. Don’t kick sand into the crab holes on the beach. Bring your chicken keleguen to your friend’s mom’s rosary because yours is the bomb. When you’re fishing, take only enough to feed your family for dinner. Let’s restore and keep the balance of life and love here on i islå-ta (our island). Do things out of the goodness of your heart.
Si Yu’us Ma’ase for reading!