Reflections on Micronesia

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Micronesia left quite an impression on me. Apparently, typhoons are a big deal in Micronesia. Micronesia is hard to sum up in a few words. It's great to go to completely different places, spending time learning about history, politics, issues and culture from new perspectives.

The Island Hopper to Micronesia

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Although the mission of the trip is to understand the situation of visually impaired students in Micronesia, I absolutely get the benefits of visiting these islands and enjoying the scenery. Our first destination on this trip was Pohnpei, in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).

Social Enterprise: Black Pearls from Nukuoro Atoll

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I found out that there is a hierarchy of remote islands. There are the big main islands, which are reasonably remote, like Pohnpei or Weno on Chuuk (my next stop). These islands have international air service like the Island Hopper I talked about in an earlier post.

Chuuk, formerly known as Truk

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We rejoined the Island Hopper for the short flight to Chuuk. During World War II, Americans knew this island as Truk, the main Japanese naval base for the Western Pacific. It has a huge lagoon, with lots of islands in it. This is unlike Pohnpei, which has one major island and a few small ones.

Guam and the Consortium

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The final stop for my Micronesia trip was Guam, a U.S. territory. Arriving on Guam felt like coming back to the United States, although it's more like Hawaii than the mainland! Guam has a huge American military presence: the armed forces control about a third of the island.

Guam 130

Visiting Schools in Pohnpei

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The main goal of visiting Micronesia is for me to gain a real-world perspective on schools and books for students with disabilities. This was a big relief, since we would be responsible for making sure these books are accessible to disabled students in Micronesia.

Meeting Key Leaders in Pohnpei (including the Governor!)

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The Federated States of Micronesia has its capital on Pohnpei (it's one of four states in the FSM), so we met with both leaders from the federal FSM government as well as from Pohnpei State. Our official visit to Pohnpei started with calls on key education leaders.

Donna Leads a Home Visit to a Blind Toddler

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She has also made Micronesia her professional mission focus. In addition to meeting with key leaders and visiting schools, Donna McNear really wanted me to see blind children in their homes.