General notes about Chuuk June 22, 2012

Nothing profound here–or anywhere else for that matter.

Just a few facts…in  no particular order.

Chuuk is a state in the Federated States of Micronesia.  It is comprised of several islands, the largest of which is Weno (Pronounced Weh-do). When people refer to Chuuk, they are usually referring to Weno–it’s where the airpot is and I am.

This must be the place.Weno is roughly 14 miles in perimeter, and  has a poulation of between 17,000-18,000 people.

The lagoon was the site of Operation Hailstone, a major battle of the Pacific Theater.  Described as some as payback for Pearl Harbor, the battle on February 17-18, 1944 decimated the Japanese fleet.  It was where many of the ships and planes used in Pearl Harbor originated.

The word Chuuk means “Mountain:  The island here has one of the highest peaks in Micronesia. Mt.Tonachau (900ft).  So when the rest of Micronesia sinks due to global warming, there is a place to go.

Picture of the lagoon that I see everyday taken in 1944.

Flip flops are the most commonly worn footwear, but they are called slippers.   People wear their slippers everywhere except inside of rooms.  I will wear them walking down the hall to my office. But I have to remove them before entering.  The same holds true for classrooms, dining areas, and churches.  I am constantly taking my flips flops off and on and off an on.   I hate flip flops.

The currency here is U.S.Dollars.The island of Yap, 730 miles west of here, still uses giant (up to 8ft. in diameter) stones for currency.

Do you have change for a granite slab? I don’t have anything smaller.

Attempts  to reclaim the thousands, if not millions, of gallons of diesel still in the tanks of the the ships sunken in Chuuk Lagoon have been thwarted by the Japanese government which claims the fuel is their property.  Yet when asked to remove it themselves, the Japanese have refused, citing the expense.  Many people express concern about the impending ecological disaster if the tanks were to rupture.

It rains often and hard.

Rain pouring off the roof this afternoon.

There is a wasp building a nest in the bookshelf next to my desk.

My daughter Lucy would love it here.  The Chuukese eat with their hands, not forks or chopsticks–just handfuls of rice and fish and spam.  I feel like I’ve gone to my five year old vision of heaven where I can play with my food.  I can’t wait to share this cultural tid bit with my own kids.

The students here all call me “Mr. Chris”.  I find that funny.

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