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Florence and Friends

Tan Floren and friends at Gef Pa'go.


“In Inarajan, we’re are all related in some way or another,” Therese explains. “Even if our last names are not the same, we have some kind of connection, we’ve married cousins, second, third, fourth cousins and so on. So, basically Inarajan is just one big family. We are all connected in one way or another.

"Some people say, ‘How are you related?’ I say, I don’t know if it’s by the toe or the finger. So we just joke around with each other. And often times it’s kind of hard to marry within your village because you don’t know how close of a relation you are to a certain person. And so a lot of us have married in other villages and then come back home and stayed here. My husband is originally from Barrigada. He lives in Inarajan. It’s really quiet down in the south and really relaxing — a slower pace than up North.”



“We are related,” Ben agrees, “and we keep it up. Our generation, I can tell you eight generations back, who they are on both sides, my mom and my dad. Because we keep track of it, and we teach our children who they are. So names don’t mean anything. I’m disappointed about my last name. I always thought my last name is Chamorro, it’s not!

"I found my last name in Rome. M-e-n-o. I saw so many signs that said ‘Meno.’ I said, ‘Wow, I always thought my name is Chamorro. And it’s not.’ And they migrated from that place over to Spain, Spain to Mexico, Mexico to Cuba, Cuba to Puerto Rico, then the Philippines, and to Guam. So I find out my name is not Chamorro, but that’s okay. I’m alive.”


In & Out Market

The In & Out Market sits at the entrance on the Talofofo side of Inarajan Village.


Hotel Accion

The Hotel Accion, at Pago Bay, is an example of large-scale development that some people from the southern villages find threatening.


“I believe that people chose Inarajan to be peaceful,” Bill remarks, “and that has not really allowed development to come in. I remember where companies actually came in and looked at one area, and I heard my sister was offered quite big money for her property.

"But then looking at the destruction of what development could do to the culture, to the people there. Life would change. This is something that I believe is not quite tolerated or accepted down here, where big development comes in.

“So for business in Inarajan you see the mom-and-pop stores and the gas station. Now there’s a recent introduction, the In-and-Out Market, and another market, but it’s fairly controlled. I don’t want to see anything bigger than that. With the cars available right now to move around the island, mobility is not very restricted. So people make a choice.”



“A lot of people who live here, they work elsewhere,” says Therese. “The stores are basically the only businesses, a few odd shops , those small ‘mom and pop’ stores, just to get your basic necessities. Anything else you want, if there’s like meat or major produce that we need to buy, we usually go uptown to the central and northern part of the island. Hagatña, then you go to the malls."



“We also have the elementary school and the middle school, which are located up on the hills. There are a lot of teachers who live down South and just teach here and around the villages in the southern part of the island. We do have a fire station, but it relocated because of the building. Now it’s located in Malojloj.

"Other than the teachers, most people down here work for the government. They commute up North to central and the northern part of the island. They have government jobs or work in the private sector. The only other person who employs people is the mayor.”


Old Fire Station

The abandoned old fire station.


General Store

The "General Store" at Inarajan, across from Gef Pa'go.


“Families sometimes move away when elders pass away, and their children decide they don’t want to live here, they want to live further north. Or they decide to move to the States. It’s pretty sad that families are leaving, but the ones who really placed their roots here, we hang on and we just watch out for each other, and hope that they do come back.

"If they do come back they at least have a house. It might need to be fixed up and renovated and made livable again, but hopefully they will come back. Times change .... As the years go on, people decide what’s best for them and their families, and so they just move on."


“It’s the same families down here,” Tan Floren says. “See, next to the store, that family, they own a big property by the Ija Farm. I think they’re building a house there, but they’ll never leave here. That’s the belief—what the parents give you, you’re supposed to hold onto it.

“I don’t think everyone will move out. The daughter of these people that owned the store here, they sold it to one of the Koreans, but then the daughter’s working there, that’s good. I don’t think they’ll leave the village.”


Pickle Jars

Pickles and tortillas at the Inarajan Store.



“Believe me,” Therese asserts, “we have a lot of people interested in coming down to Inarajan and down south. Anywhere in the south — Merizo, Talofofo, Umatac — they just want to come live down here because it’s so quiet and there are not a lot of tall buildings and fast food places down here. Everything is just very quiet and calm and everybody likes it that way."


But there are plans afoot to revitalize the village.



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