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Andersen to host activities, celebrate Chamorro Heritage Month

Hope Cortez, 36th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center work life consultant, answers questions during a Chamorro Heritage month cooking class March 4, 2016, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. Throughout the month of March, the A&FRC will be hosting a variety of classes and activities surrounding local culture, customs and traditions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Cierra Presentado)

Hope Cortez, 36th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center work life consultant, answers questions during a Chamorro Heritage month cooking class March 4, 2016, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. Throughout the month of March, the A&FRC will be hosting a variety of classes and activities surrounding local culture, customs and traditions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Cierra Presentado)

Hope Cortez, 36th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center work life consultant, prepares a dish during a Chamorro History Month cooking demonstration March 4, 2016, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. Throughout the month of March, the A&FRC will be hosting a variety of classes and activities surrounding local culture, customs and traditions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Cierra Presentado)

Hope Cortez, 36th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center work life consultant, prepares a dish during a Chamorro History Month cooking demonstration March 4, 2016, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. Throughout the month of March, the A&FRC will be hosting a variety of classes and activities surrounding local culture, customs and traditions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Cierra Presentado)

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- During the month of March, Team Andersen will celebrate Guam History and Chamorro Heritage Month with a variety of activities surrounding local culture, customs and traditions.

The Airman and Family Readiness Center will also host cultural classes focused on making Chamorro style dishes and learning more about Guam’s rich history.

“We’re excited to bring the culture of our island to the military members,” said Hope Cortez, 36th Force Support Squadron A&FRC work life specialist. “Being able to share our traditions and history is fun and exciting and should be a great learning opportunity for the folks that may not be from here.”

The Chamorro people originated from the North Pacific and migrated and settled throughout the Mariana Islands. Once a year, the community of Guam celebrates this heritage by participating in local festivals, family gatherings and hosting demonstrations showcasing their ancestry and culture.

“Our culture is very family oriented, and that’s one of the many things I love about my culture,” Cortez said. “We encourage many of the members that come to Andersen to go out in the community and meet people. The locals are really nice and the island is a nice place for us all to come together.”

The island of Guam is known for its delicious food, including lumpia, red rice, finadene and kelaguen, which are a favorite among the local and military community, Cortez added.

“During Chamorro month, we will have some special cooking demos for anyone that would like to come,” she said. “Each year we try to teach a new dish because so many people would like to learn how to make local dishes. This is a great time to teach that.”

Upon arriving to Guam, newcomers are introduced to various adventures available around Guam. The A&FRC staff encourages families to venture out and explore the history of the island, the many beaches and hiking opportunities Guam has to offer.

“I’ve met people who have only ever stayed on the south side of the island, I highly recommend folks go out to the south side; it’s like experiencing a different side of Guam with the mountains and mother nature,” said Dave Ooka, A&FRC work life consultant. “There’s also the War in the Pacific National Historical Park, it’s a great place to go to learn some of the history behind our island.”

Classes will be offered every Friday during the month and include:

Mar. 16, from 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., during the spouse newcomer’s orientation, members can learn about Guam history and participate in a cooking demo focused on red rice and finadene.

Mar. 18, from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. individuals can learn techniques on how to skillfully wrap and make two types of local style eggrolls.

Mar. 25, from 11:30a.m. – 1 p.m. there will be a coconut husking demo and coconut candy making.

All base patrons are invited to attend the classes. To reserve a seat or for more information on Chamorro Heritage month, call the A&FRC at 366-8136.

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