March 19, 2005: Headlines: COS - Micronesia: The Third Goal: Oneonta Daily Star,: Micronesia RPCV Suzanne Miller to present "Children of Chuuk"

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Library: Peace Corps: The Third Goal : The Peace Corps and the Third Goal: March 19, 2005: Headlines: COS - Micronesia: The Third Goal: Oneonta Daily Star,: Micronesia RPCV Suzanne Miller to present "Children of Chuuk"

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Micronesia RPCV Suzanne Miller to present "Children of Chuuk"

Micronesia RPCV Suzanne Miller  to present Children of Chuuk

Micronesia RPCV Suzanne Miller to present "Children of Chuuk"

Professors to discuss their experiences in Micronesia

Staff Report

ONEONTA ó Suzanne Miller has traveled several times to island villages in the Pacific Ocean to teach and to learn about teaching.

She and Walter vom Saal, professors at the State University College at Oneonta, will present "Children of Chuuk: The Strengths and Struggles of a Pacific Island People" in a slide show at the Morris Conference Center at 7:30 p.m. Monday.

Miller was a Peace Corps volunteer in Chuuk, Micronesia, in the late 1960s, and she helped write a grant that began Head Start there. Last year, she returned to Chuuk and taught an early-childhood-education course to the Head Start staff.

Miller, a teacher educator, said students in her preschool-education course at SUCO made object-matching sets, puzzles, flannel board stories and other learning materials for the program.

"It was great to see the Chuukese children excited and happy using those materials," Miller said. "The staff was so enthusiastic and eager to learn."

Miller said she teaches students at SUCO about childhood in Micronesia and island life, including education and the Head Start program.

During her Peace Corps years, Miller lived with a Chuukese family and found upon returning in 1999 that the children had grown and had large families, including a namesake who had 11 children.

"What was most surprising was not how much my island had changed over three decades, but how little it had changed," Miller said. "Most people still had no indoor plumbing, running water, electricity, telephone communication, cars or other land motor transportation. There was a lack of health care and educational resources.

"On the positive side, many people still lived in large, extended family compounds and were very warm and caring of each other," she said.

Vom Saal, Millerís partner who traveled with her to Micronesia in 2002 and in spring 2004, said adults looked after all of the children of the village and it was difficult to tell who belonged to whom.

"The children in the village all played together, without the exclusion based on age and sex that we often see here," he said.

In classes on adulthood and aging and on human sexuality, vom Saal said, he has shown slides and interviews that portrayed how those issues were addressed in the Chuukese culture.

Vom Saal said he enjoyed taking more than 1,000 photographs of family and village life as well as of children in the elementary school and Head Start centers.

The couple helped the villagers start a cooperative and they brought back some locally made handicrafts and clothing for Davida, the Fair Trade store in Oneonta. Miller said they hope to continue to return to Micronesia on a regular basis to work in the village and in education.

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Story Source: Oneonta Daily Star,

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Micronesia; The Third Goal



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