August 4, 2005

By Masaleen Sehpin
The Kaselehlie Press

On Friday, July 29, 2005 a graduation ceremony was held at the Pohnpei Botanical Gardens for the participants of the Aramas Kapw Canoe Training Program.

The Aramas Kapw Canoe Training Program was made possible with aids from various organizations, which include the Micronesia Bound Inc., the WIA Program, the Australian Embassy, Pohnpei Visitors Bureau, Pohnpei State Government, Pohnpei DOE and Aramas Kapw.

Leperirin Nett gave the invocation for the ceremony and Mr. Francisco Marquez was the MC. Participants of the day's ceremony include the Assistant Secretary, Australian Embassy, DOE Director Casiano Shoniber, and many important governments officials and the President of the MBI Board welcomes guests, families, friends and participants to the day's ceremony.

There were nine graduates and they were all dressed in grass skirts, the traditional wear of Pohnpei. The graduates and their instructors put on display five different canoes, which they managed to complete within their 90 days of training. The five canoes are a sailing canoe, a fishing canoe, a racing canoe, a display canoe and one, which the students built on their own as a test and it is the smallest of all the canoes. The canoe, which the students built as a test, was to be sold to the highest bidder and the bids begun at a hundred dollars. Aramas Kapw to will use the four other canoes for education and tourism needs in the future.

The graduates all gave remarks on the importance of canoe and according the graduates, canoe is a part of our culture and canoes don't operate on gas/fuel. With the high rise in fuel cost, using canoe will save a lot of money, and the graduates encourage the people of Pohnpei to start thinking about using a canoe instead of boats, which live on gas. Lingken Soswa represented the Canoe training instructors and he too elaborated on the importance of canoe to the Pohnpeian culture. Most of the speakers of the day hoped the canoe-training program would be ongoing so that other youths could also take advantage of the important training.

The participants of the canoe training program are drop out students and Soswa said it is important for the trainees to learn how to build a canoe so that they could go back to their residents and teach the skills to others who are interested in learning. Learning how to build a canoe will also benefit the trainees in the future.

The graduates were Apra Ardos-Kitti, Roughly Alex-Kitti, Benster Arnold-Madolenihmw, Kenio Barnabas-Kitti, Williander Koike-Nett, Larry Patricio-Madolenihmw, Elvis Penikinus-Kitti, Derson Ringlen-Madolenihmw and X-men Semes-U. The four instructors were Nazar Luzama, Lingken Soswa, Mark Saimon and Robert Bernardo. DOE Director, Assistant Secretary-Australian Embassy and the MBI Board President awarded certificates of completion to the graduates.

The program conveys sincere gratitude to all who have contributed to the program's success.