Monday, April 24, 2017


Humåtak in olden days

"Gi sengsong" is the name used at one time for everybody who didn't live in Hagåtña.

It literally means "people from the village." Hagåtña was "the city," "the capital."

Songsong means "village," and gi means "from" or "at."

There was a bit of deprecation implied in the term gi sengsong. People from the city were supposed to be "higher;" smarter, more sophisticated, more affluent. The gi sengsong were supposed to be slower, less affluent.

But the one thing the gi sengsong could say about themselves was that they had whatever was needed for life right at their finger tips. From the guålo' (farm) or tåsi (sea), they had what was needed for food and material.

The gi Hagåtña (people from Hagåtña) also farmed and fished, but their farms or ranches were located farther away from their homes. Many Hagåtña people farmed as far away as Yigo. This meant that a lot of city people had to sleep most of the week at their farms, coming into town only for the weekend. Southern people, though, lived closer to their farms. They didn't need to sleep at the farms since their farms were only a short distance from the village in most cases.

Secondly, many in the higher classes in Hagåtña didn't farm at all, but rather bought what they needed from those who did farm.

By the 1930s, more and more Hagåtña people were relying on store-bought items imported from the U.S., Japan and the Philippines, which meant that if the stores ran out of things, the customer had to wait for the next shipment. The gi sengsong, however, still relied mainly on their own resources, which, in most cases, never ran out.

Thus, an old lady originally from the south said,

Masea pånglao yan gåmson,
ti man fåtta i man gi sengsong.

Even if it's just crab and octopus,
the villagers are never lacking.

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