Sunday, January 03, 2010

A home for Saina

A home for Saina

Monday, 04 January 2010 01:29
by Zita Y. Taitano | Variety News Staff

GUAM’S sakman outrigger canoe “Saina” will have a new home at the Ypao Beach Park in Tumon by the end of summer.

Artist Ron Castro’s rendition of the latte house that will be built for Saina. Photo courtesy of Ron Castro

Members of Traditions About Seafaring Islands or TASI have been gathering the right wood to build a latte stone house for the Saina. The house will have latte stones similar to the ones found on Tinian and Rota.

TASI member Ron Acfalle said the group has collected Gagu or pine wood. “They are really strong wood that we use here,” he said referring to a Chamorro village set up in the park that was part of the recent Micronesian Island Fair.

“The latte will come up first and it’s going to be 12 feet and the structure on top will be 27 feet for a total of 39 feet so almost close to four stories high,” he said.

The latte stones will not be made out of the limestone ancient Chamorros used in the past. They will be made out of concrete because there is no equipment available on Guam to cut the limestone for the latte, Acfalle said. The structure will be about 80feet tall and about 35 feet wide, he added.

The project is scheduled to be completed in about eight months although Acfalle would like to see the hut up sooner. “We need to take it slow here so that all those who find they want to be a part of this will be given that opportunity. Summer time will come in about six months,” he said. “That might entice some of the locals who come from school.”

Acfalle wants the community to be part of the project. “It’s really important that’s really known it’s for our brothers and sisters,” he said. “Our goal really is to touch everyone’s heart. To bring harmony to kids who are lost in the culture and the elders who want to see it.”

The latte house is the second building TASI has built for canoes. The first one, Sayan Tasi Fache Mwan, is located at the Hagatna Boat Basin next to the Paseo baseball stadium.

Tony Taga, 40, of Dededo, is looking forward to completing the project is glad to be part of the effort.

“I just want to give back to the culture and learning about (my) family’s culture,” said Taga, who is also a direct descendant of Rota’s Chief Taga.

According to legends, Chief Taga was instrumental in the building of the latte stone structures in Rota and Tinian.

He said his family and relatives in Rota are not aware that he’s helping with the construction. “They don’t know yet, but I know they’ll be proud of me that I’m helping the culture so I know they’ll be happing that I want to learn something,” he said.

Also proud to be part of the process is Ben “Guelo” Rosario, 45 of Rota.

“Helping the latte house is a very great opportunity or great experience because right now the engineering building of the Latte house has been gone for over 300 or 400 years. Maybe 500 years,” said Rosario. “I think building this is part of our mission to perpetuate the culture and to experience the engineering of the latte.”

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