Thanks to the team for this great documentary about what we do here at WAM!
Emotions ran high at the graduation of the WAM Class of 2014, with proud smiles being the order of the day. The keynote address was presented by Chief Secretary Casten Nemra and WAM Director Alson Kelen also spoke to the trainees and their friends and families, but one of the biggest highlights of the October 2 ceremony was the speech made by star trainee Etmina Mojilong on behalf of her peers:
My joie is Ejowa and I live in Rita with my mother and father, brothers and sister. I am 22 years old and I graduated from Marshall Islands High School in 2011. Right after high school I enrolled in CMI (College of the Marshall Islands) and took developmental English and Math. After three semesters, I decided I needed to find a job that would let me contribute to my family’s finances.
I worked at a small store in Rita for a while, but it was not what I really wanted to do. I couldn’t go back to school because I owed the school and had no way to pay it back. I was feeling kind of lost and not sure what to do for myself, so this year, when one of my friends told me about the canoes program, I applied and was accepted.
I wasn’t sure what I wanted from the program, except I heard that I would learn about my culture and that It might help me get a job. I did learn about my culture. I learned about the names of the parts of the canoe and how they are related to our culture and what they mean in our culture. I learned how to sail a canoe, which was very exciting for me.
But I learned so much more. I learned how to use hand tools and power tools and how to measure using a measuring tape. I learned how to work with patterns and designs and how to put things together carefully. I learned how to follow instructions.
But I also learned about myself. I learned about self-discipline, about achieving goals, about being part of a group. I learned that I can do anything a man can do if I just learn how.
I would like to thank my counselor Tolina Tomeing for her guidance and help. I would like to thank the carpentry instructors Linton, Binten, Maston, Isocker for teaching me carpentry. I would like to thank Linton for helping me with math. I would especially like to thank Binten and Linton who taught me how to sail the canoe, even though I am a woman. I would like to thank Ken for teaching me how to build a rowboat and how to manage time. I would like to thank Bonny for helping me improve my English skills in reading, writing and speaking Englih.
And, finally, I would like to thank Mr. Kelen for letting me in this program and for giving us all this opportunity to improve ourselves as Marshallese citizens.
The Coordinator of the Micronesian Challenge*, Lesley Vick, thoroughly enjoyed her ride on a traditional Marshallese canoe (September, 2014), despite the fact there wasn’t an abundance of wind. “I’m used to the rowing canoes they have where I live in Palau, so I wanted to see how the Marshallese canoes went. They are famed for their speed and agility.” Lesley’s skipper was long-time WAM employee and carpentry instructor Linton Baso. “We got a few gusts, when I really got the fell of how fast they can go. Plus, it was nice to get out onto the water and get a perspective of how large the lagoon in Majuro is.”
*The Micronesia Challenge is a western Pacific regional initiative to improve the conservation of marine and land resources. In late 2005, Palau President Tommy Remengesau called on his peers to join him in the Challenge, which hopes to see the conservation of 30 percent of near shore coastal waters and 20 percent of forest land by 2020. Signatories of the Challenge are Palau, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the US territories Guam and Northern Mariana Islands.
“I have been a counselor for the Waan Aelõñ in Majel program and working with at-risk youth for the past five years. The WAM counseling program offers the trainees life skills, substance abuse counseling, individual counseling, group counseling, and family counseling. I do the counseling with the trainees to help them meet their goals and make their dreams for their future life a reality.”
- Graduate of the College of the Marshall Islands (2006-2007 and 2013-?)
- Certificate of Completion in Fundamentals of Addictions Counseling and Professional Ethics
- Completed Training course Sexually Transmitted Infection Case Management
- Certificate of Completion in Patient Navigation Workshop
- Awarded Certificate on Women’s Health Education Network
- Certificate of Completion in Recovery Oriented System of Care Training
- Training on Global AIDS Response Progress Report conducted by Ministry of Health and National Advisory Committee for HIV, STI AND TB
- Certified on Basic Tobacco Intervention
- Certificate of Completion in Foundation of Addiction Treatment Practice
Joined WAM in 2009
Home islands: Wotje and Ebon
“I am a former trainee of the Waan Aelõñ in Majel program, graduating in the year 2009. I admire the WAM training program because it takes youth who are at risk of failing in life and teaching them certain skills and knowledge for their future. My goal is to teach the trainees numeracy and vocational skills such as canoe building, boat building, wood crafting using a wide range of tools.”
- Graduated with High School Diploma
- Certification of Completion in the Waan Aelõñ in Majel Program in 2009
- Certification of Completion in the Carpentry Program at the Australian Pacific Technical College in Fiji
- Certification of Completion in the Level II Carpentry course at the Workforce Development Agency Taichung-Changhua-Nantou Regional Branch in Taichung City. The course was funded by the Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund in 2015
Joined WAM in 2010
Home islands: Ailinglaplap and Namdrik
“I enjoy working at WAM because I want to help the students. I do this through my book-keeping and accounting and taking care of the money, including the grants we receive from our many generous donors.”
Bachelor of Science (Computer Science).
Negros Occidental, Philippines
Joined WAM in 2015
“I live in Laura, at the western side of Majuro, and enjoy working at the Waan Aelõñ in Majel Program as a trainer. My goal is to work with the youth and teach them tool names, tool usage, and work skills such as canoe and boat building. I also teach them how to cook healthy food.”
Certificate of Completion in the Waan Aelõñ in Majel Program
Joined WAM in 2006
Home island: Majuro
Nowhere else in the world will you find such beautifully crafted model traditional outrigger canoes. The canoe pictured is similar to one in the collection of a Tokyo museum. The pictured canoe is for sale, but there will be a time lag on delivery as it is used as a tool to teach students about canoes. If you’d like to discuss buying a large model canoe please contact the WAM Director Alson Kelen.
Click to see another example of a custom-built canoe that was designed for the Government of Taiwan.
Price on request
Every clock made at WAM is unique because the craftsperson designs it according to the shape of the wood. A highlight of many of the clocks is hand-made engraving spelling out the name of an organization. Pictured is former WAM trainee Rinky Hersey with a clock he produced for Majuro hardware store Do It Best.
Price on request
If you need a trophy, name plate, or special plaque to commemorate an event or series of events, the WAM staff and trainees can design and make it to your specifications. It doesn’t matter how big or how small, we can accommodate any request.
WAM has a variety of designs on its colorful range of T-shirts. Sizes include Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large, and Double Extra Large.
Smaller range of polo shirts available for $25.
How can you live without a lime squeezer in the tropics? Answer: You can’t! WAM’s lime squeezers will help you liven up your fish dishes, give cool beverages an extra flavor, and is sure to be one of your kitchen’s most important accessories.
The featured lime squeezer was made by WAM instructor Linton Baso.
Small $10, Medium $15, Large $20
WAM’s chopping boards always include some extra flair, such specially carved edges. The one pictured was made by WAM instructor Linton Baso.