Message from Jon Rumal Jr. (June 1st)
June 1st 2017
I am humbled by how welcoming the communities are for our team. Even though I expected not to be turned away, it’s so moving to experience being received the outer island style. I am especially encouraged by the interest from these communities so far.
It’s June 1. It’s the first of a normal June 1 for most, but here I am on a small boat thinking this is a first. A first of a dream science team coming together for a journey through time to our outer islands. A first of reaching back to our past and understanding, a bit of history and culture of our Outer island chain as whole. And a first of tying all that together and trying to learn how to move forward sustainably in an ever-changing time.
It’s about 6:30am, and I am looking over multiple shades of a turquoise blue lagoon towards the sunrise. Completing this circular reef and right below the sunrise is Elato Island. It’s exactly day 10 of this pioneering journey to the neighboring islands of Yap. “Hofagie Laamle”, I thought. I wonder what this means? I wonder what the impacts of this trip will be? I still can’t believe that this is happening. The logistical challenge of getting a private boat now turned into a university laboratory and a dream team of scientists was only a vision exactly this time last year. History will dictate what this all means, but I am very encouraged by the hope that we can do this. We all can do this, the outer island community together can help themselves drive even in the phase of climate change.
-John Rulmal Jr.