On rainy days


The wind-driven rain crashes down the tin roof of the dirty kitchen outside. It sounded sentimental, though, bringing memories of the other old kitchen in CK a long time ago. It was where we cooked the family meal on traditional firewood stove daily. At daybreak (if isn’t your turn to cook), the smoke from the kitchen signals that dawn has come.

We lived in a simple tin house built after the war. At least, we had a roof over our heads as we listened to the rhythm of the rain until the wee hours of the morning. The seasonal shift has its benefits, like cooler weather and our drinking water too!

On a more serious note, flood and drought would intensify in the Asia-Pacific region this year, according to a UN study. It means getting more than our share of storms up ahead. Japan has recently been battered by flood and fatal mudslides.


Fund shortages that hit the local coffers annually is as perennial as grass. Accountants use their skills to the hilt, though the seesaw tidings of scarcity persist.

A 15% cut was recently imposed across the board as funds head south. The government has yet to pay NMC and other Cs their funds. Hope there’s still money left to avoid deficit spending.

We could offer unsolicited recommendations but who knows the situation better than money managers themselves? I trust their work!

Though there’s the constitutional requirement that 25 percent of total funds is earmarked for education, the work to fulfill it is derailed when funds head south equally quickly too.

It’s all a matter of mature disposition, ensuring that basic services aren’t compromised. Indeed, it’s a difficult task given the complete opposite of obligations mounting annually while funds go the other direction. Perennial!


When you’ve lived in poverty you get a down-to-earth experience of the hardship that comes with it. There’s the persistent lack of food and other basic needs gift-wrapped in scarcity.

I’ve literally gone through this ordeal more than 50 years ago. It’s a painful journey that tests resiliency while holding onto the last ounce of hope.

The hardest part wasn’t that you’re missing a certain need as much as the lack of it for the rest of your siblings. It’s a painful experience we endured with humility, difficult it may have been.

It was at the bottom of the abyss of abject poverty where there are no answers, even in prayerful hopeful tomorrows. You take it in misty good night and call it a day.

But behind it all was His savings grace that eased hardship for the poorest in the community including ours. Mit grasias!

Those were literally the hard days of yesteryears. Had to face endless headwinds in that difficult journey. Ever stared at your empty plate wishing it were food? Done that too!

A lot of our elderly lost their jobs and so the next best thing was to begin subsistence living, anew. We cleared land, planted, while raising small livestock for maintenance like chicken, pigs, and goats. No easy task after school or from dawn to dusk on weekends.

The trail of hardship I left behind has turned golden paths of yesteryears. It is enshrined in memory lane for it was a part of my difficult and cherished journey of yesteryears.


Income has been and still is the most difficult issue for employees here then and now. Nearly 15,000 are earning poverty income level wages and salaries. It’s more than half the workforce here.

It requires formulating realistic economic plan. Are we up to the task or “not yet, already?” Unless we plan and carefully follow through recommended actions, we’d repeat the same failure time and again. Must do better than snooze at the wheel!


I’ve heard the term “cultural” used loosely in recent conversations. When I warn kids about betel chewing they’d slam right back, “It’s cultural!” Since when is chancing fatal oral and esophageal cancer cultural?

But it’s used as the single word answers all about culture that exists or doesn’t exist just to get by. It’s a good cover word, though, when you’re not sure what’s your culture by calling it “cultural.” Did you get that, pal?


Insufficient salaries simply show its prohibitive effects in building a safe and secure family home. Admirable, though, how folks have built a large restroom in the main structure that accommodates the family during typhoons. I call it creative survival!

John S. Del Rosario Jr. | Contributing Author
John DelRosario Jr. is a former publisher of the Saipan Tribune and a former secretary of the Department of Public Lands.
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