Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Adventures in Chamorro #4

On Facebook I have a regular informal series titled "Adventures in Chamorro." It ranges from stories of speaking Chamorro with my kids, protests, decolonization activism and also teaching Chamorro at UOG. I have not been on a hike in quite a while and so here are two stories dealing with hiking and my students at UOG.


Adventures in Chamorro #234: For my Chamorro language classes I often have them write up some simple love poetry. I normally begin those assignments by talking about most elderly Chamorros refer to as traditional Chamorro courtship rituals. As Spanish Catholic influence made it very difficult for young unmarried men and women to interact with each other romantically, so much of the courtship happened in secret or through intermediaries known as "chule'guagua'" or "basket carriers." It was a time of early-morning meetings down by the riverbank, sneaking away to the blindspots behind churches or nights filled with young men, prowling around homes hoping to get the attention of their beloveds sleeping within. Sometimes these stories ended with the families approving the union, sometimes they did not. Students usually remark how different things are today, although one or two makes a connection with the "drama" in relationships today, joking that we still find Chamorro men lurking around homes, although usually for ekgo' related reasons. Here is one of my favorite poems by a student writing in that theme.

Gaige hao gi fi’on-ña på’go
Humåhanao mo’na gi kareran-miyu
Lao gagaige ha’ hao gi halom i korason-hu
Hu guaiya hao
Lao mabokbok i ante-ku
Annai un yute’ yu’
Gagaige ha’ hao gi halom i hinasso-ku
Yan gaige yu’ på’go gi hiyong i gima’-mu

Adventures in Chamorro #207: I recently took my Chamorro classes on a hike to Pågat. For those who couldn't make it, they could be excused if they wrote, in Chamorro, a poem or a reflection paper on the beauty or the importance of the location. Here is an example of a poem which was started by a CM101 student, and then when I shared with with a CM102 student, he added in some extra, humorous details.

Hu hungok na gof bonito i sengsong Pågat.
Ti siña humånao yu’ para Pågat sa’ macho’cho’cho’ yu’.
Bula antigun na latte giya Pågat.
Guaha paopao na flores giya Pågat.
Guaha binådu siha giya Pågat.
Guaha mikulot na guihan gi tasi giya Pågat.
Guaha yommok na babui siha giya Pågat.
Hu hungok na guaha meggai na bubulao na kulepbla siha giya Pågat.
Ti ya-hu kulepbla siha!
Ti malago’ yu’ humånao para Pågat.
Ma’å’ñao yu’ umbee.

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