Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Inalåhan Ranch Scene
Early 1900s

Years ago, almost everything needed for life was obtained from the land and sea, with just a bit of human effort needed to harvest these resources.

For sure, metalware for farm implements, tools and household goods had to be imported.  Perhaps certain medicines, too, could not be found locally.  Otherwise, even leather and cotton could be obtained in one's backyard.

At the turn of the last century, an American official could say that true, dire poverty did not exist on Guam.  Though no one lived a luxurious life, everyone had the necessities of life.  The American said he knew of only one person on Guam who needed charity from others in order to live, for she was without family and was blind.

But then he visited the home of a blind couple, an elderly husband and wife.  Though blind, the man spent his time weaving pineapple fiber into fishing nets.

The couple's son, strong and able, tended to the family farm : corn, tobacco, coffee, coconuts, sweet potatoes, taro, yam, betel nut.  Not acres and acres of them, just a little patch here and there, but enough to feed the small family.  The animals included a few head of cattle, pigs and chicken.

The young man went up a coconut tree and brought down tuba for the American to drink.  All throughout the American's travel in and out of Guam's ranches, he saw people pleasantly growing crops, greeting him politely, with some of the children taking his hand to show reverence.

When a fellow American asked him if he thought the U.S. should civilize the Chamorros, this man's answer was "God forbid!"  From what he saw, the Chamorros were just fine.  In fact, better off than many elsewhere.

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