2012 Japan/Micronesia Student Exchange Program accomplished on Pohnpei
night of their arrival, July 25, 2012, a welcoming reception was given at
the State Administration Building, honoring the twenty-four (24) member
Japan delegation that came to Pohnpei for the 2012 Japan/Micronesia Children
Exchange Program. Both Governor
John Ehsa and Ambassador Eiichi Suzuki were at the welcoming reception to
officially welcome the delegation and give their blessings to the group,
initiating their activities during their stay from July 25, 2012 to July 31,
2012 here in Pohnpei.
24-member delegation consisted of sixteen (16) students from various grade
schools in Tokyo, two (2) chaperones, one (1) translator, one (1) nurse, two
(2) organizers, one (1) observer, and the Director, Mr. Shuichi HIRATA, Head
of the NYC Program Division, National Institution for Youth Education,
local students who went to Japan for the same program in June this year and
last year and their families were present at the welcoming ceremony.
The Social Affairs Administrator, Mrs. Janet Panuelo and the staff of
the office of social affairs were at the reception.
welcoming ceremony, Governor Ehsa welcomed the delegation and pledged that
Pohnpei would do everything in its capacity as host to complement the
purpose of the trip. Ambassador
Suzuki acknowledged the welcome and thanked Governor Ehsa for that.
He extended Japans’ appreciation for this gesture of friendship and
their seven-day excursion here in Pohnpei, the students and their chaperones
visited the Japan Embassy in Kolonia, Kepirohi waterfalls, the Nan Madol
ruins, stayed on Nahlap Island for two nights, did some environment clean-up
activities, hiked the Sokehs ridge to see the old Japanese guns, and stayed
with host families for one night.
excursion started on July 26, 2012 as they visited Kepirohi waterfall, Nan
Madol Ruins and went to Nahlap Island for a two-night stay.
their site visits, both the local students and the Japanese students enjoyed
the special associations they fashioned along the way, most especially
during their stay on Nahlap Island. They spent two nights there.
Nahlap, with a lot of energy, the children picked trash together, played
volleyball together, went swimming together and did a lot of cultural
exchange activities. The
Japanese children had the chance to weave local
kiam (coconut-leaf basket), husk
coconuts, and even tried the coconut meat.
their last night at the Nahlap Resort, Hon. Johnny P. David, former Governor
of Pohnpei State and who also owns Nahlap Resort, and his family hosted a
farewell dinner that ignited fire within the children as they ate mangrove
crab placed in pwaht (coconut-leaf
plates), danced with the family hula dancers and chanted around the campfire
that was ignited by id (local fire
making). The students left Nahlap on July 28, 2012 right after breakfast.
Nahlap they went straight to the Dekehtik coast way to pick up trash.
Cleaning up trash is a required activity for this program.
The students must do trash cleaning where ever and whenever they can.
After they cleaned up what trash they could lay their hands on at the
causeway, they went to the China Star Hotel for Lunch.
29, 2012 the group went to the Sokehs ridge to view the Japanese Guns and
the old Japanese Search light site situated on the Sokehs ridge. Today, the
site is where the Telecom antenna or transmitter and the Pohnpei Public
Safety antenna are erected.
the Sokehs ridge tour the Japanese students went back to their Hotel, the
Cliff Rainbow Hotel, and got packed before they were picked up by families
that were assigned to host their home stay.
In the Home Stay Program, two students were assigned to one family
for an overnight stay.
home stay activity was an opportunity for the Japanese kids to observe the
normal every day activities that typical Pohnpeian families usually do at
home. It required three meals
from the host family. The three
meals included a dinner, a lunch and a breakfast before they were brought
back to their hotel. So the
Japanese students were picked up by their host family at noon on July 29 and
were returned to Cliff Rainbow hotel before noon the next day, July 30,
2012. All of the kids and the chaperones expressed appreciation for the
accommodation provided to them by the host families.
farewell reception took place in the State Administration Conference Room
again in the evening of the same day they returned from their home stay.
Social Affairs Administrator, Mrs. Janet Panuelo, Youth Program
Coordinator, Person Joseph, and the rest of the Social Affairs staff were at
the reception. Families of the
local students were there, too.
Administrator Panuelo and Director Hirata exchanged remarks reiterating
appreciation and gratitude to each counterpart for a program well executed
Panuelo stated in her remarks that she could tell that there had been a bond
established between the Japan team and the Pohnpei team.
One could easily notice a smooth interaction between the two students
as they shared everything together; food, laughter, pictures, jokes, etc.
She also said that “the supposed to be happy ending farewell reception is
sad because everyone knows their time together is ending.”
farewell remarks, Mr. Hirata thanked Governor John Ehsa; Ambassador Eiichi
Suzuki; Administrator Janet Panuelo; staff of the Office of Social Affairs;
Nahlap Island Resort, most especially John David; the Cliff Rainbow Hotel,
most especially Chris Christian; local students and their families; the bus
drivers; and all who assisted directly or indirectly to the smooth and
successful flow of this year’s program.
program almost couldn’t end as the sharing of food, pictures, dances and
exchange of email addresses blended in with the friendly environment that
filled the room. However hard to end the program, it came to an end at about
ten o’clock that night.
hardest part for the kids was the departure on July 30, 2012.
Tears were actually shed by both students as hugs and hand-shaking
were exchanged at the departure gate.
The Japan delegation left Pohnpei at 11:40 PM, July 30, 2012.