Best Sunshine International, Ltd. has reached out to repair and rebuild the worn-down smaller hut at the Carolinian Utt in Garapan, the traditional storied place that continually serves multiple functions of the Refaluwasch community and the community in general.
While the largest hut at the Carolinian Utt site continues to stand strong, the smaller utt has caved in due to harsh weather conditions. The structure was built over a year ago and has since been repaired twice according to the Carolinian Affairs Office.
“On behalf of the Carolinian Affairs Office, we really appreciate BSI-CSR extending help. We don’t really have the manpower right now so we really appreciate the help we can get,” said John Tagabuel, executive assistant for the Carolinian Affairs Office.
BSI’s Corporate Social Responsibility is spearheading the reconstruction after noticing the dilapidation.
The repair and reconstruction of the hut is good news for CAO, which is preparing for this month’s Cultural Heritage celebration.
“The things we do here on the grounds are focused more towards the community. When I spoke with one of the CSR staff, he pointed out that he could help us. I told him that repairing the smaller utt would be [a] nice uplift in time for the Cultural Heritage Month events,” Tagabuel added. “I want to thank BSI’s management for extending their courtesy and help that we need.”
BSI-CSR executive director Geri Dela Cruz acknowledged that the restoration of the utt is a critical aspect in preserving the culture of the islands.
“We at Best Sunshine International truly believe in keeping the Chamorro and Carolinian culture alive. We would like to see this utt restored so that all can use it,” executive director Dela Cruz noted.
She added, “Being that September is Cultural Heritage Month, putting out resources into restoring the utt at this time couldn’t be better.”
Akin to this month’s celebration, Best Sunshine’s CSR team will also be assisting the Cultural Heritage Month Steering Committee with the slated Family Fun Day event.
“BSI-CSR wanted to ensure that the fallen utt is restored and safe to use in time for the occasion,” Dela Cruz pointed out.
After securing an approval from the Carolinian Affairs Office, the BSI-CSR team immediately began this week repairing entirely the structure. The work includes the removal of the worn-down roof and replacing it with a new one, restructuring its skeletal framework by ensuring that it is sturdier and would withstand the island’s fluctuating weather.
The Garapan site of the Carolinian Utt has been a symbol of the storied Refaluwasch culture and community in the CNMI. Today, it continues to be a place for celebration, meetings, educational programs, and other activities.
The utt is also being utilized as a site for demonstrating the correct traditional work in preparing the mwars, beading, and coconut husking, among other educational outreach of the Refaluwasch community through the CAO.