WorldTeach is glad to be able to share an account of Majuro Day from our current participant Alex Rodriguez. Alex is from Miami, Florida teaching English Writing and Science to pre-nine classes at Laura High School on Majuro. In addition to his classes, Alex is also involved in the community as part of one of men’s fast pitch softball teams called Kinbo.
The Marshall Islands always finds a way to have a good time and be outside with family and friends. On the weekend of February 15 and 16th, the Majuro local government had a huge event down at the Laura Ball Field. Laura is on the other side of Majuro, almost the complete opposite of downtown. Laura is the perfect spot for this event because plenty of people can come, there’s enough room for people to park and the sports complex is the biggest on island. The Majuro local government celebrates Majuro’s earnings of becoming an independent state every year and holds this extravaganza there.
The weekend opens up with an opening parade. As being a teacher at Laura High School, I got to be a part of this parade along with about 6 other elementary/ high schools in the area. Each school made a parade float decorated with all different kinds of Marshallese custom decorations. Following this parade were multiple performers from the police force, to local women’s clubs dancing away in front of about 3 thousand people. While all this is going on, the area around the field site is lined with tents and BBQ ready to start cooking. Each tent represents the neighborhood of a local area. So for instance, I represent Jeirok while others represent Lomar. Both of these teams are neighborhoods in the village of Laura. So you can see how a small rivalry will brew.
After the enjoyable opening ceremony, the athletic coordinators began setting up the field for the track races. It started from little kindergarteners to high schoolers. Basically these were the first heats to see who will qualify in the championship races the next day. After finishing up the qualifiers, the coordinators cleared up the field and got it ready for my championship fast pitch softball game. This is the last game of the 4 week long tournament we have been playing and it was easily the most thrilling game all season due to the amount of people watching. They had an announcer and everything so the game could stay lively. We came away with the win and celebrated on the field while also earning close to 2 thousand dollars for the team. The energy was great and the atmosphere smelled like roasting chicken the rest of the night.
Saturday morning started early because the athletics were in full swing. There were tug-of-war championships, men and women basketball championships, volleyball championships, the 200 meter races, 400 meter races, 1 mile races and the 10k. These events would take up the day and you choose which one you would like to watch whenever you are not eating a big plate of food from your representing neighborhood tent. When everything finished, all the teams tired from their games we sat under our tents to enjoy the rest of the night. The Marshallese likes to finish with a bang and had a tremendous firework closing ceremony that went until about 11pm. The whole weekend was fantastic and it’s great to see local neighborhoods support each other and have fun friendly competition. So many noises in the air such as kids running around, men screaming at each other and women cheering for their friends and family. I earned some respect from my fellow Jeirok natives and went home a happy camper with 25 dollars in my pocket from our win.