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By Mark-Alexander Pieper

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, August 24) - Hundreds
of people laughed, danced and relaxed at the Paseo Stadium in Hagåtña last
night to the head-bopping sounds of reggae and the soothing melodies of island
music performed by musicians from around Micronesia.

The Palauan Association of Guam hosted the All Islands music
concert in an effort to raise money to construct a new community center or Abai
building in Dededo.

An Abai is a traditional Palauan building that is shaped like an
A and is where people meet to discuss a variety of village issues, according to
Pacific Daily News files.

Theodore Iyechad, president of Guam's Palauan association, said
the nonprofit organization was hoping to raise about $30,000 for the
construction of the Abai, which is slated to begin in January.

The Abai is just one part of a much larger complex to include a
baseball field and basketball court that will be developed for the island's
Palauan community. Iyechad said the association was expecting 500 to 600 people
to attend last night's festivities.

Dededo resident Joe Rechirikl said he thought the concert, which
featured several bands from different Micronesian islands, was a great event.
Budweiser True Music also sponsored the concert.

"This is all right, and it's gotta be the best on Guam.
You've got barbecue, dancehall, good people -- what's not to like?" said
the 19-year-old.

"I also think it's for a good cause because there's a lot
of stuff that we're going to be able to do (at the Abai) that can help to keep
the kids from getting into trouble."

Iyechad said the facility will be divided into 16 lots, one for
each of the different sects of the Palauan community, and will be connected to
the Abai, which will be the center of the complex.

"There is going to be an opportunity each month for the
different state co-ops to showcase their part of the culture, but when it is
complete we also plan to be a multicultural center for the Pacific," he

Mangilao resident Jerome Andrew, 28, said the Abai will allow
people of various Micronesian cultures to meet and interact.

"It'll be nice to have a place where you get together and
mix with people from all of Micronesia," said Andrew, while enjoying the
concert with friends.

Iyechad said while the Abai will be a home for the Palauan
community, it will open its doors to others.

"It will be a place where artists from the Commonwealth of
the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic
of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau and the territory of Guam can
showcase their talent and culture," he said.

"That is what this is really about. It is also why we
invited groups from around the Pacific region to play (last night). I think so
far it's a good beginning to establish that good partnership between Palau and
the (other islands) that we are seeking to build."

August 25, 2003

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com 


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