This picture has nothing at all to do with Majuro, it’s actually my little nephew who lives in Las Vegas with his Mom and Dad. But since my camera is still missing (USPS reports that they delivered the package containing it to Majuro Post Office on January 30th at 3pm) I don’t have any new Majuro pictures to post. So here you go: the world’s cutest kid (in my own humble opinion!)
It has been a long but good week. We had a holiday on Thursday to commemorate “Nuclear Survivors’ Memorial Day.” I was glad for a little break from school, but on Wednesday night I ate something that made me horribly ill all day Thursday. So I was really glad to not have to teach while feeling this bad, but it was a shame not to have fun on my day off. Then we came back to school on Friday for one day. Thursday felt like Saturday, Friday felt like Monday (coming back to school) and today (Saturday) just feels like I’m back to the same time-warp that I’ve been in since moving here last August.
Although RMI has never been involved in a war (except for the young men that they send into the US military who go straight to Iraq currently, and being tenaciously fought over during WW2), they remember those who have been victims of nuclear testing each year. I think what happened was atrocious and should be remembered and never forgotten. I was shocked to find out how clueless I as an American was about what my country did during the 1950s. (For more details, see my previous post from October about Nuclear Testing). Unfortunately, many people are using this holiday to push a political agenda for more money from the US government. I would have loved to attend an event to truly mourn what happened and the effect it had on the people of the Marshall Islands, but instead the events on island were used as soap boxes to gain support for the demand for more compensation money. The US government has sent millions of dollars in compensation already over the past decades, and it has created a habit of foreign dependence here. In addition, most of the people benefiting from the US compensation at this point are the children and grandchildren of those affected by atomic testing. While I feel terrible that they are still waiting to go home to their home islands, they have pretty comfortable lives in Majuro and other islands due to the large payments received from the US government (if only someone from the American government would have come and taught everyone to be financially savvy before just sending lots of money!) In any case, these terrible events happened 50 years ago, and there comes a time when things need to return to normal. The millions of dollars in compensation has created vast class-differences between Marshallese from affected islands and Marshallese from all the other islands that have not been compensated. If there is going to be healing and forward progress, we need this decades-old wound to stop festering and heal. We should never forget what happened, but there comes a time to allow old wounds to heal, and I feel that the time is long-overdue in this situation.
Today we spent some time re-arranging the tutoring center and making it a bit more student-friendly. It is a great new place, but the furniture was not conducive to tutors helping students (there are large amounts of individual study carols, but no group working space) and 2+2 Club didn’t really have any place to gather. So I’m really glad to see a few changes, and I hope it will make it a better venue for all students.
Anita and I are cooking up plans for a student movie night. We’d like to show our students “The Pursuit of Happyness” (my computer just spell-checked Happyness!) which I saw while at home in California for Christmas. I really think that not only would it be great to have a social night for students (with a better alternative to getting drunk) and I think also that it would really inspire them to work toward their dreams and not be deterred. If you haven’t seen it yet, I would highly recommend the movie. I was glad to see that Will Smith was nominated for an Oscar for it, because he really did a fantastic job portraying a character who just pulls on your heartstrings. Well, I’m heading home to finish grading my stack of 60 algebra tests in front of a movie at home. I’ll write again next weekend. Until then, have a great week!