Sunday, May 06, 2007

On Cleanups and Volleyball

Can I make a confession? I didn't really want to go to the cleanup this morning.

After the MINA BBQ on Saturday, the Flame Tree Festival last weekend, and the Beautify CNMI Anniversary dinner the weekend before, all I really wanted to do was to wake up at 10 AM, brew some coffee, and scratch my butt for 6 or 7 hours.

I knew I couldn't do that though, so I got up, hopped in the shower, got dressed, and arrived to the cleanup about 15 minutes late (sorry). All of the volunteers were already out in the tourist district when I arrived. Other than Kyle and Dennis, who were about to start cleaning, only Marites and an older Filipina lady named Vangie were at the meetup point.

Usually what I do at the Garapan cleanup is to stay in the parking lot signing people in and handing out trash bags. This week the three of us, instead of staying back for the latecomers or picking up garbage, grabbed our cameras and went looking for the volunteers; We wanted to take some pictures and then grab some donuts at Winchell's for the volunteers.

This morning was our seventh consecutive month of cleaning up the tourist district and I was really discouraged by what I saw. Beautify CNMI has been around for almost a year, we've been in the news almost weekly, we've won national recognition...and there's still fucking garbage all over Garapan.

I didn't really express my disappointment, just kind of kept it to myself as we walked past piles of plastic bottles and discarded cigarettes. There was even a dead cat in the CPL Derence Jack Road drainage ditch:

Dead CatI'm sure that a dead fucking cat in the a drainage ditch leading to the ocean has nothing to do with red flagged beaches. Nothing.

Not that I was ready to fold up and quit, but I was sure thinking about not coming back to Garapan for a while. I only started to feel better as we ran into all the different volunteers picking up trash.

We ran into Nancy and Ron, who live on the West Coast, but spend part of their time out in the CNMI. They've been fantastic supporters of Beautify CNMI, donating several hundred dollars over the past few months to pay for cleanup supplies. Then we ran into the Filipino Gay Association boys, er, I mean, um girls, the volunteers from Kinpachi Restaurant, the ever steady FMI crew, Adam Sablan and his mom, Juanita, and then we found Cinta's family, who was cleaning up with two new volunteers from Saipan International School.

Filipino Gay AssociationEveryone had a smile on their face and nobody was complaining. They just picked up the bottles, picked up the cans, and picked up the cigarette butts.

They made me feel better. They made me realize that we are making a difference.

Garapan Monthly CleanupWe're really lucky to be an organization where 54 volunteers is considered a small turn out. Thanks to everyone who came out this, maybe that was a poor choice of words...thanks to everyone who showed up!


It was already 10:30 by the time this morning's cleanup finished. I had promised EJ that I would come watch her play volleyball, so I booked it from Garapan all the way down to PIC in San Antonio.

As you can see from the video, it only took me two minutes to get there. My average speed was 120 mph.

When I got to PIC, EJ was in the middle of the Queen of the Beach tournament. She was still playing her first round. Melissa, Michelle, and Kimiko were in her grouping:

Saipan VolleyballPIC VolleyballThose girls play some mean volleyball! EJ played three games in the first round, one with each of the other three girls as a teammate. She won her first game with Melissa, lost her second game with Kimiko, and won her third game with Michelle. That was good enough to get her to the next round.

I didn't stick around, though. I had to go up to Dan Dan to visit with FMI on their second cleanup of the day. I didn't help any, but I did stay manage to drink two Pepsis and down about 10 ribs. Thanks, FMI!

Then I went home and downloaded all my pictures from the weekend and wrote this post. I'm going to go find some grub when I'm done.


joe said...

great background pics, angelo. thanks for the memories : )

i felt the same way about the trash in our front yard.

in the 14 years i spent back on island; my experience revealed a few things to think about: 1) empower individuals (that care) to enforce the littering law. 2) help the cause by actively prosecuting offenses to the law. 3) increasing the penalties and setting aside funds for education and awareness programs (to be distributed to individual schools).

in reference to #'s 1 & 3; each school can offer a class on the environment and laws pertaining to it, students can be deputized (upon completion) with a percentage of collected penalty fees awarded to the school.

as for # 2; well, that falls under the "adults" category - we'd have to follow through or the children will see the truth - and lose faith, then not care, by then, we all lose.

by the way; our front yard was in your video (right across "welcome to san antonio" sign). it was, until the govt. decided to "lease" it...more on that later...

Kimiko said...

WOW!! You drove soooo fast!!

There are nice pics from the vollyball. I'm the only one who was standing, not

Mona said...

The video is my favorite part. You should make more of those.

Deece said...

I am extremely jealous! ;)

tetricus said...

girls are hot

Bev said...

nice action vball pics!

gretel said...

note: dead cat pic, eeeew

and I am going to FUJI ROCK commence being jealous.

oh wait, you live in paradise :(

Saipan Writer said...

Dead cat in the drainage ditch--ugh. I walk the pathway fairly often. I've seen two dead dogs in the drainage there, on different occasions.

I'm in favor of licensing and leash laws. And I'd also like a responsive agency that picks up dead animals on the road, etc. promptly upon being called.

As for litter and trash--the litter this morning along the beach pathway was really, really bad. What do people do over the weekends?

On the bright side--
Loved the first v-ball picture--you captured the exciting action of the game. Most of the rest of the pics are just hot girls and women-which does nothing for me.

Jeffrey C. Turbitt said...

Does plenty for me.

Carl said...

Quite amazing fact about the 54 volunteers is considered a small turn out,the pictures are just outstanding.

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