January 13, 2014

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press

On December 28, 2013, the Pingelapese People's Organization Incorporated (PPOI) celebrated the completion of its canoe building project with a canoe racing tournament at Sokehs Island Bay. The competition was held amongst Pingelapese who reside in Pohnpei from each of the four groups (pwekil) on Pingelap Island, namely PwekilMweniap/ Pasik,PwekilPeruku/Namahl,PwekilSakarekapw/ Ihlong, and PwekilKakahlia/Pelenekeus.

PPOI is a non-profit organization that became an FSM chartered organization on August 07, 1997. The organization was established in order to help promote education, to encourage better socioeconomic welfare, and to preserve the unique Pingelapese was "Strengthening Collaboration and Understanding Brings Successful Results". As part of its efforts to promote its theme and preserve the Pingelapese custom, this year the PPOI conducted a canoe building project with assistance from local canoe building instructors from Pingelap Island. The local instructors worked directly with their respective pwekil throughout the whole project. The instructors were Jimmy Ehmes, Kensiro Boaz, Moden Boaz, Nickelson Mark, Nixon Boaz, and Oltrik Alex. The sacrifices and commitments made by these men were immeasurable because they had to be away from their families and homes for seven months. They provided the training for free. The invaluable project was targeted at any Pingelapese man who wanted to learn or refresh his knowledge and skills on the canoe building process. As a result of this project, there were a total of 6 new canoes that were built by the four groups.

To celebrate the important milestone in the organization's history, a canoe racing tournament was held amongst the four pwekil. The competition comprised four heats for men, four for women, and two heats for coeds (two men and two women on each canoe). The events took a whole day to complete and began with very important opening remarks by His Majesty Doahkesa Dr. Berysin Salomon, Wasalapalap Nanmwark of Pingelap. At the end of the event, the total points for all of the races determined the winning team. Pwekil Sakarakapw/Ihlong (red team) took first place. Pwekil Peruku/Nemahl (blue team) came in second. The third place winning team was PwekilKakaliha/ Pelenekeus (white team). Pwekil Mweniap/Pasik (yellow team) earned the fourth place.

At the closing ceremony, the speakers all agreed that the event was a great success.

The hosting group for this year, Sakarekapw/Ihlong wishes to acknowledge every individual who helped by buying raffle tickets and who contributed in other ways to the fundraising event that took place on December 21, 2013. The proceeds from the fundraising were used to support the canoe festival event. They would also like to give special recognition to the following individuals/organizations for their generous contributions to the event:

Bank of FSM, Best Buy Store, Caroline Fisheries Corporation, Etscheit Family, FSM Development Bank, Moylans Insurance Underwriters Inc., National Fisheries Corporation, Pohnpei Department of Education, Pohnpei Department of Health Services, Pohnpei Port Authority, Pohnpei Transfer & Storage, Senator David Panuelo, Sokehs Municipal Police

For more information regarding the PPOI, please contact either the outgoing PPOI President Kosaky Keller or 2014 PPOI President Cliff James at Pingelap Municipal Government Office at 320- 1238//5042.