Troy Aguon spent 13 years in Las Vegas, Nev., not knowing how to speak Chamorro, the language of his home island.
Troy Aguon talks about the “Learn Chamorro” program during his address to the Rotary Club of Northern Guam yesterday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Photo by David Castro
Stumped by this, he set out to learn the “dying language” to revive it and pass it on to his children. He then moved back to Guam about 13 years ago and began his endeavor.
He visited the University of Guam and local bookstores, searching high and low to find every available kid-friendly tutorial for his children to learn Chamorro, but to no avail.
“There was none; it didn’t exist,” Aguon told Rotary Club of Northern Guam members during a meeting yesterday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.
“They had other books, but they were too in-depth and too formal.”
Because of this, Aguon, along with his wife and a few friends, has decided to embark on a journey to introduce educational materials that will encourage children and the general public to learn Guam’s native language.
Aguon is on a mission to get every single word in the dictionary translated into Chamorro within three years. He has launched a website, learnchamorro.com, which aims to teach Chamorro to anyone wishing to learn in a fun and friendly environment.
He has also produced an educational DVD with similar content as the website for $20. The price for the DVD, which is a “kid’s edition,” he said, is to cover the cost of producing the DVD, among other expenses. He also noted that any excess funds from DVD sales will go directly back to his cause. While the website is free of charge, Aguon said the DVDs can be purchased as a gift or for collection.
“It breaks my heart to know that you have to pay for something that’s dying right now,” he said. “So I’m going to do it myself and I’m going to challenge everyone on Guam.”
The DVDs can be purchased at Bestseller Bookstores, Nunu Tree at the Agana Shopping Center, The Piazza Restaurant, the USO headquarters, Che’lu Store at Chamorro Village, Cost-U-Less in Tamuning, and Island Fresh in Ordot/Chalan Pågo.
Aguon has also partnered with the Marianas Variety to introduce a section today that will feature Chamorro words/phrases and their English translations.