Imagine…the bells are ringing for the Rowa family again!
Yes, it’s true! Our son John Rowa and Venessa Thronson were married today, April 26th, in Newport Beach, California.
John and Venessa met during church youth group six years ago, and over time their friendship developed. Last year on Christmas Eve, John posed the question, and the rest is history.
The ceremony and dinner/reception were held at the Haborside Inn Ballroom, overlooking Balboa Harbor. Pastors Mike and Ronda Crites officiated with grace and a touch of humor. Venessa’s mother did a beautiful job of adding decorative touches to the elegant setting. Wall-to-wall windows provided a magnificent background view of the harbor, during twilight and evening, for the guests during the dinner and reception.
The bride was beautiful in a fitted, brocaded wedding gown and long train. The bridesmaids wore bright pink floor-length gowns. The groom and groomsmen were handsome in black tux with silver vest and accents.
John is the Executive Director of Trading for a financial company, and Venessa works at an elementary School.
They will be making their home in Riverside, California.
We wish them all the best!
Photos by Groom’s father, Aenet Rowa.
Yokwe to all my Family and Friends at home in the Marshalls and abroad.
Imagine…our daughter Jessica getting married.
My wife and I are proud to announce that Saturday, September 13, 2008, Jessica Joy Rowa married Jason Andrew Gatlin in beautiful ceremony held in Dana Point, California.
With a sweeping view of the ocean, shady trees and gently sloping grass covered hills, and walkways leading down to the Dana Point Harbor, the famous Lantern Bay Park was the ideal place for the outdoor wedding and reception.
In a morning ceremony, facing the Pacific Ocean, Jessica and Jason exchanged their vows. Rev. Josh Barclay, from Midland, Michigan, performed the ceremony.
Jessica and Jason, both 23, met their first year at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa. Both graduated this past year — Jessica majored in Political Science. Jason, an accomplished musician, who has shared his talents in India, China, South Korea, and across Europe, was a Music major.
The couple are looking forward to their work in Christian ministries together and serving at Integrity Christian Center where Jason is the music and youth director. Jessica will also continue in her job as executive assistant for a investment management/currency exchange/trading firm.
A special thanks to all who helped make this a very special day.
Best wishes to the lovely couple.
Photos here by Bride’s father, Aenet Rowa.
It’s been over a year, since we have had problems,
but today, June 15, 2008, the YOKWE.NET website is temporarily down.
If you went to the website and saw an empty page,
Don’t fear…Yokwe.net and Yokwe.com have NOT disappeared!
I am trying, at this moment, to resolve a database matter with our Host Server. Evidently, we are using too much of the server’s resources allowed for a personal website.
If this takes any extended time, we will do the following.
Use YOKWEBLOG www.yokweblog.net to keep you informed of the news.
You can register and login from the right-hand menu if you would like to make comments.
Also, we will send news out through the Yokwe_Eok email group.
Also, you can reach me if you have questions or to send news at our same email address:
Since Friday night, we have been in the process of moving the website. It’s supposed to take about 24-36 hours, so by Monday the website should have propagated.
Although most of the features will be available, there is still some work to me to do, so please be patient.
If there are any glitches, please email me at:
Also, if you posted any messages over the past few days, and they are missing due to the transistion, please feel free to post again.
Don’t panic. We can’t imagine life with yokwe.net either!
Yokwe.net is NOT gone. Our host webserver has been having continued problems, and the website has been down off and on since last night.
Because of these continual problems with the host company, we are in the process of moving the website to a another host webserver. (The first time in five years!)
Over the next few days, as files are transfered, and the new location propagates, we will use YOKWEBLOG <www.yokweblog.net>to keep you informed of the news.
You can register and login from the right-hand menu if you would like to make comments.
Also, we will send news out through the Yokwe_Eok email group.
During this transistion, please check back here often for news and updates.
We are expecting good things ahead. Continue to send news, photos, and write us at
Komol tata for your understanding and continued support!
Imagine…roads, curbs, light poles freshly-painted for the first time in 6 years…
Imagine…cleared yards, mowed grass, trimmed foliage…
Imagine…mended exteriors, buildings tidied, landscaped grounds, nice decorations…
Imagine…RMI gov workers released to help clean-up for a day…
Imagine…all of Majuro working together to make the town fit for a special Presidential Visit..
It happened this past week. Kudos to the government and people of the Marshalls!
Our citizens dream of a capital like this; now, we know it is a possibility. Couldn’t we do the same — for our own pride, own island, and people?
Imagine…a walk on the wild side.
I took a break this weekend from the Yokwe Online website and headed to the great outdoors. A word for all the Marshallese who live in or come to visit Southern California. Forget about Disneyland unless you want to stand in line for an hour or more per ride. Instead, enjoy some close-up encounters with God’s creatures at Wild Animal Park, near San Diego. Join me now on the following photographic safari as I take a Walk on the Wild Side!
Imagine… Two weeks ago, the Marshall Islands’ Secretary of Finance was abruptly asked to step down. Secretary Saeko Shoniber had worked faithfully at the Ministry in a variety of capacities since 1987 and was Deputy Secretary at the time of her appointment to Secretary in 2001.
What was even more startling was that Secretary Saeko Shoniber was considered part of the “Majuro Miracle” — the revitalization of the “dysfunctional” Finance Office to a high level of accountability and production.
Just last August in President Note’s address to the Nitijela opening session, the first accomplishment mentioned was the success of “RMIâ€™s initiative to reform its financial system.” and the best audits in Micronesia.
Since no reason for Secretary Shoniber removal has been given, many have spectulated it has to do with her ability to say “NO.
Could it be that this time it was because Secretary Shoniber said “YES” ?– Yes, to releasing the information to the Press under the transparency policy.
Imagine…The Miracle at Majuro becoming Marshall Islands’ Travel Gate. Back in January, Yokwe Online published an editorial, “The Road to Disaster”, which suggested that trips abroad by President Note have accumulated far too much air miles while there was disaster on the domestic front. The Marshall Islands Journal also printed the editorial and the issue gained wide notoriety.
Imagine…thousands of travel dollars revealed. One month later, for the first time in RMI history, the Finance Office released the names, agencies, destinations, dates, and amounts for travel expenses for December through January. The Marshall Islands Journal, published the finance data as a full page display, in its February 18 and March 4 editions. The Journal headlined it with “Who Went Where and Why?” and noted that the information’s release was “in line with the administration’s policy of transparency in government.”
It was in these lists, the extreme expenditures of some public officials and family members for accompanying travel, came to light.
Imagine…transparency on-hold. To follow up on the travel issue and to provide the information for our off-island citizens, Yokwe Online requested copies of the SAME DATA published in the Journal from the Finance Office. We were informed that the Secretary had stopped sending the travel information for the “time being.”
The information was already available and I had asked as a matter of courtesy, but it appeared that it was limited to ONLY some.
So on 3/20, thinking that perhaps the directive came from higher-ups, I contacted the President’s Office, but received no answer. On April 5, another email was sent. I finally received a response, but was informed that I had asked incorrectly for the information by asking if the President’s policy on transparency was “on-hold.”
Imagine…too much transparency. After putting together all the information, here is my conclusion.
Secretary Shoniber, released the information in line with the President’s transparency, but this was not what the Administration wanted. It was too much “transparency” for the Administration to handle.
Could it be that the Majuro Miracle has become the Marshalls’ Travel Gate?
Imagine… Marshallese are considered very religious and are known to have a very set ideas about the do’s and don’ts of a Godly person. To be in “good” with most of the Church society, DON’Ts include: smoking, drinking and fooling around, as these habits do not edify the body which is a temple of the Holy Spirit.
Now, there is a new DO in Church circles. Do eat alot! When you have parties, don’t just have “cow and bao,” but lobster, shimp, sashimi, pork, etc. Also, don’t forget the potato salad, the cold-slaw salad, the fruit salad, along with traditional pumpkin, all piled on top of a heap of rice, with lukkor on the side.
We tend to be excessive when it comes to serving food at special occasions. It’s not just in church circles, but also in all areas of community life. Visitors at these occasions often report that
“they have never seen so much food!”
Anthropologists say this can traced back to the times of feast and famine in our ancestors atoll life. They learned to preserve foods and be without, and then in seasons of plenty, to eat well.
We once ate breadfruit, Pandanus, swamp taro, and arrowroot, which was called the famine food, but imported foods are the mainstay today.
Special occasions in the village life would call for celebration, and everyone would bring a basket and go home with a basket.
Unfortunately, now everyone goes home and eats just rice and something canned (jelele) for the rest of the month. Our children suffer the most from this rice obsession. While our bellies fill out with all the starch, our children’s bellies bloat with malnutrition.
Imagine…life without rice.
Even in the States, where healthier foods are available, the daily diet still centers around rice to the detriment of our health and future.
The dependence on rice which is pure carbohydrates, turning to gluclose (sugar), has cause much diabetes, heart disease, and death among our people. Why so much diabetes? Our lives are less active, we eat the wrong foods, and we our overweight.
According a nutritional study, 50% of Marshallese men over 18 y in the sample were overweight (29%) or obese (21%). We found similar rates of overweight in women (29%), and even higher rates of obesity (31%).
This is how bad it is. Today, if there is no rice, people will go hungry. Even if there was fruit on the trees, plenty of fish in the water, and store shelves are stocked with other foods, when there is no rice, people will consider it a famine.
So, I’d like to add one more DON’T to the list for Godly and Healthy Marshallese. The Church should add rice to its list of sinful things! Why not? Just like smoking and excessive drinking, eating a ton of rice is bad for you.
Along with Godly living, our pastors should preach healthy living for the body.
Save Yourself – Don’t Eat Rice!
Imagine…many years ago, a young Ebeye boy looked forward to Liberation Day Celebration. In those days, Ebeye Marshallese crossed the three miles of water to attend the celebration at the Kwajalein base with the Americans. While making the ferry crossing, the boy would crane his neck looking for the Kwaj water tower. As soon as it came into view, great excitement would fill his heart. Soon he would be riding the carnival attractions, viewing the historical photos of the invasion of Kwajalein, and cheering the American heroes!
Ebeye workers still ferry across to Kwajalein today, but much has changed. Those carnivals on Kwaj are gone, the visitor programs have been all but nullified, and even Marshallese employed on Kwaj sometimes feel unwelcome.
One thing that has not changed since I made those journeys long ago: Marshallese still welcome Americans with grace and liberality.
From the time of the WWII liberation, and the US occupation which inoculated the Marshalls with canned SPAM and westernized thinking, Marshallese have valued their relationship with the US and looked up to the Americans.
This is spite of the fact that America misused its oversight responsibility under the UN Trusteeship, to make the islands its nuclear testing ground and in doing so, made the Marshallese its guinea pigs. Hundreds of people were displaced and sent to strange islands, and thousands of their descendents still have not returned to their homelands.
Imagine…any other country and its people allowing these things to occur in their homeland, and not fighting back against it.
Imagine…any other people not holding great bitterness and objections toward the presence of a foreign power who did this.
But that hasn’t occurred. Instead…
We signed the Compact of Free Association with the United States and its recent reauthorization, even when:
1) the agreement endeavors to seal-off any future compensation for the years of suffering and displacement due to nuclear testing.
2) the US encouraged the RMI to sign off for the US military operating rights (MOURA) to Kwaj, without negotiating with the landowners for a lease first.
3) the RMI must be scrutinized and threatened with monetary withdrawal of funding which are given, not in charity, but in exchange for use of land and for strategic and defense purposes.
At every turn, we support the United States in the international arena 100%. The Marshalls staunchly stood with the US at the United Nations time after time — sometimes the only one.
There are no radical environmentalists, nor anti-military movements, clashing daily with the US presence on Kwajalein or elsewhere in the Marshalls. On the whole, there is a peaceful and honorable relationship between the two countries.
Our particular relationship with America is not limited to the political field. Over the last twenty years, Marshallese, trusting that Americans are good, have relinquished hundreds, maybe thousands of babies into their care. No other country has had such a high percentage of out-adoptions.
This is why recent remarks made by a visiting US congressional staffer grabbed my attention as absurd.
“The US doesn’t want to be where it’s not wanted.”
Imagine…saying that after all the Marshall Islands has put up with for the last fifty years under the American hand.
Why have Marshallese for several generations accepted Americans with open-arms and forgiving spirits?
It must be in that delicious, canned SPAM.