Saipan Dispatch #4: Island Images

Posted On: February 4, 2019

I looked back over my earlier Saipan Dispatches and noticed a dearth of photos. So here are a few more island images to convey a sense of the people, places and things we saw during our week on the island.

Typhoon Yutu

As I described here, super typhoon Yutu struck Saipan and Tinian October 24-25, about ten weeks before we arrived. In news articles and youtube videos, the typhoon’s destruction has been well-documented. So I took only a few shots of the impact of the storm:

This “Yutu work of art” hung on the wall in the studio of KKMP where we did the Wednesday morning talk show. Gary, the host, told us the typhoon had impaled this piece of corrugated tin around a STOP sign post:


Six years ago, when Jody and I were on Saipan, I took a photo of a palm tree-fringed beach that conveyed for me the “paradise” feeling of the island. This time I took a photo of the same beach post-Yutu:

Saipan Beach, June 2013
Saipan Beach, January 2019








The Borja Family

Carlos, Jr, Tata Carlos and Tom

After the Three Kings’ Day novena with the extended Borja family on our first night on Saipan, Jody and I visited Tata Carlos Borja on his 82nd birthday, January 9th, at his home in Oleai. His son, Carlos, Jr., and his family live with Tata Carlos in the same place in Oleai where I lived in the Peace Corps.

Tata Carlos is holding the small tin of Ontario maple syrup I brought as a gift from Canada.

As we were about to leave, Carlos, Jr., offered us a much larger gift: one half of a giant clam shell. With several rolls of bubble wrap, newspapers and a very sturdy box, we managed to ship this 10-pound beauty to its new home in North Bay.









On Sunday, January 13th, the day before we were to leave, the Borjas hosted a picnic for us at San Isidro Beach Park, not far from our hotel.


The food was plentiful, drink was abundant. . . .






. . . and the sweetly flowing rhythms of the island music had some folks up and dancing, including Tata Carlos. One of the relatives claimed that Carlos could “dance all of his daughters under the table.”




Family Portrait with the Borjas


That’s Jody and Tom in the top row with our good friend, Lino Olopai, standing on the right.

Seated on the picnic table (L to R) are Jesusa (“Sue”), Doris (the oldest), Tata Carlos, Lourdes (“Lou”), and Carlos, Jr., with his granddaughter.

Seated on chairs are Bernadetta (“Bernie”) and Rosa.


And finally . . .