Tuesday, January 5, 2016


(The story teller preferred not to appear on the video)


In 1944, the Americans by-passed Luta (Rota) while invading the other three main islands of the Marianas : Saipan, Tinian and Guam.

Luta was cut off from supply ships and food was scarce. The Japanese made the Chamorros farm for them in the fields, and American planes would sometimes fly in and attack military and Japanese targets, but Chamorros were also vulnerable to these attacks.

The story teller recounts an incident told to her by her mother about one such strike from an American plane while farming the fields of Luta when she was a baby, carried on her mother's back.

In 1945, the Japanese were given the opportunity to surrender, without an American invasion, when the war ended.

Gi liyang annai man gaige todo i taotao.
(In the cave where everyone was.)

Kada dia debe i famalao'an de u fan hånao para i gualo'
(Every day the women must go to the farm)

para u fan macho'cho' ya u fanånom para i Chapanis.
(to work and plant for the Japanese.)

Pues guåho nai "cry baby" yo' ya ti siña yo' ma po'lo
(Well I was a cry baby and I couldn't be left alone)

sa' siempre yanggen duro yo' kumåti lalålo' i Chapanis.
(because the Japanese will be angry if I keep crying.)

Pues ha kokonne' yo' si nanå-ho, ha o'ombo' yo' gi tatalo'-ña
(So my mother would take me, carrying me on her back)

ya humåhånao yo' lokkue' para i gualo'.
(and I would also go to the farm.)

Uchan yan somnak gaige yo' gi tatalo'-ña.
(Rain and shine I was on her back.)

Pues un dia annai man mamaila' i aeroplåno,
(So one day when the airplanes were coming,)

tåya' chansan-ñiha para u fan malågo ya u fan attok.
(they had no chance to run and hide.)

Pues manohge kalan eståka "or" måtai trongkon håyo ya mangeto.
(So they stood there like poles or dead trees and stayed still.)

Pot fin, mamaki i aeroplåno ya uno na båla poddong
(At last, the plane fired and one bullet fell)

gi me'nan i damagas adeng-ña si nanå-ho.
(in front of my mother's big toe.)

Ya despues ilek-ña, "Nihi ya ta fan malågo ya ta fan attok sa' siempre ha bira gue'."
(Later she said, "Let's go and run and hide because surely he will return.)

Magåhet na ha bira gue' i aeroplåno ya mamaki.
(Sure enough the plane returned and fired.)

Annai humånao i aeroplåno yan man huyong siha,
(When the plane left and the people came out)

duro ma sångan i sinienten-ñiha annai duro mamaki i aeroplåno.
(they kept expressing their feelings when the plane was shooting.)

Si nanå-ho ilek-ña, "Poddong un båla gi me'nan i damagas adeng-ña lao ti påkpak."
(My mother said, "A bullet fell in front of (her) big toe but it didn't explode.") *

Pues ilek-ñiha i famalao'an, "Ai Luisa. Ennao ha' i Sånto Anghet-ña i patgon
(Then the ladies said, "Ay Luisa. It was only the Guardian Angel of that child)

gi tatalo'-mo muna' fan såfo'," sa' todos siha magåhet man såfo',
(on your back who protected us, because they were all surely safe,)

kontodo guåho.
(including me.)

* The story teller switched back to the third person while speaking in the first person, quoting her mother.


~ She uses another word for airplane, aeroplåno, borrowed from the Spanish. The more usual word we use is båtkon aire, both words borrowed from Spanish but according to Chamorro usage. It means "air ship."

~ She uses the original Chamorro word for the human foot, addeng, preserved by the Chamorros of the Northern Marianas. Guam Chamorros switched to using påtas, originally meant for animal feet only.

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