Hagan Guåhan giya Hawai’i Nei

Håfa adai and Aloha Mangatchong-hu! (my friends)

My journey continues… in the islands of Hawai’i. I have moved to Oahu to further my education at Kapi’olani Community College, learn the Hawaiian culture, make roots and connections, and grow as an individual. I chose Hawai’i for various reasons: it has the only university that offers a degree in Pacific Island studies, it’s the perfect cross between island-life and city-life, it’s not tooooo far from home, and it could be the stepping stone to the rest of Polynesia. Hawai’i like Guåhan has a complex colonial history that has severely affected its culture, language, and people. Hawaiians have revitalized their language and culture, and I think that Chamorus can learn a lot from their struggles and successes on our own journey to self-determination and identification. I have worked very hard to get here, so I am very determined to accomplish these goals.

As a hagan Guåhan, leaving si nanan-måmi islan Guåhan yan i familiå-ku was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Hu dumingu (I left) hugs from my parents, kisses from si nanå-hu biha, family fiestas, familiar faces everywhere I go, and the physical connection with the land and my ancestors… I’m already mahålang for the smell of the jungle, the sun’s warm embrace, the saltiness of i tasi, and the silence of our rural island. Although I still cry everyday and long for home, I won’t let my feelings sway me. What I’ve been told and what I believe is that there is an entire world full of knowledge, adventures, cultures, and people out there waiting to be explored, so I’m accepting this quest steadfastly. Sometimes I feel selfish for leaving because there are so many things that I could be doing to help back home, but based on others’ experiences and my own, leaving is necessary for growth; you’ll never truly appreciate a place until it’s gone. Home will always be there waiting to greet with open arms. Whatever I learn and experience will be brought back and shared. I’ll be home sooner or later better equipped to help i islå-ta, i taotao-ta, yan i lina’lå-ta.

Now, I am a part of the Diaspora and am a foreigner in another people’s home.

I na kanaka o ka aina, ka Kanaka Maoli,

ʻO Zea Francesca Pangelinan Nauta koʻu inoa, ke kaikamahine a Guåhan. I hele mai ai i ko oukou mau aina e like me koʻu mau kūpuna i hana ai, e kaʻana ike, ka nohona, a me ke aloha. Koʻu poʻe kānaka a me kou poʻe kānaka maka like aumeume, aka pu, ia kakou ke lanakila maluna o lakou. Ke noi haʻahaʻa aku noi ia oukou no ko oukou pomaikai.

Mahalo nui loa no kou kokua, hoolea aku i ka Pacific!!!

(To the people of the land, the Kanaka Maoli, my name is Zea Francesca Pangelinan Nauta daughter of Guåhan. I come to you like my ancestors did to share knowledge, culture, and peace. My people and your people face similar struggles, but together, we can overcome them. I humbly ask you for your blessings. Thank you for your help, praise the Pacific!!!)

To all my readers, this isn’t the end of my writing, but a new chapter from a different perspective.

Saina ma’åse nu i tinaitai-miyu.

Advertisements

“Håfa Adai!”

Buenas todus hamyu!

“Håfa adai!” is the most renowned Chamoru greeting in all of the Marianas. It’s a spirit of warmth, hospitality, and love, residing in the hearts of all those who perpetuate it. It’s an icon of the Chamoru culture, illustrated on many hats and shirts of local brands. Many Chamorus and Guamanians alike are bringing this Chamoru greeting back to life by using in their everyday lives. Even local companies have taken the “Håfa Adai Pledge” in which they swear to greet everyone with håfa adai. It’s awesome and a great step for our people towards the revival of our culture.

“Håfa adai”, to me has always been a simple Chamoru greeting, until recently when my uncle Tony Ramirez, accomplished Guåhan historian and my mother Rita Nauta, co-founder of guampedia.com shed light on the true meaning and depth of those words.

I mañaina-hu said that håfa adai is actually short for håfa un adadahi hao meaning, “how are you caring for yourself”. In that moment, it all came together… Our culture teaches that we are supposed to treat everyone like they’re family, so showing love and care for someone, even a complete stranger is (supposed to be) our initial response to assoda (meeting) them… like second nature.

Knowing the meaning of håfa adai is only half the job; the other half is to perpetuate the beliefs, practices, and values that are in the meaning itself. Like si nanå-hu said, in our culture, we practice universal love–loving everyone selflessly. Doing this, however, has become quite difficult with Western influence and what the Westerners did with our hospitality. Western ideals and culture are much more individualistic, which clash with our collectivistic Chamoru values. It’s also hard to be welcoming and caring for everyone because as a people, we are scarred. We were so grateful to Uncle Sam for saving us from the Japanese in World War II, but what they did and are doing to us now is beyond chenchule’. They’ve taken our land without adequate compensation; made us second-class citizens on our own island; seized ancestral, spiritual lands; denied us access to those lands; and infected our culture.

A great step in the direction of cultural-identification and self-determination is knowing and practising the values of our culture, such as the håfa adai spirit. Love your neighbor like he’s your che’lu. Respect people and their property like it’s your grandma’s own. Spread pås yan guinaiya (peace and love).

Si Yu’us Ma’åse for reading