Building a creative business
My family has five generations from Guam. I left in the early 2000s for a career change and moved to Washington, D.C. We moved to Highlands Ranch in 2009. It’s a great place to raise a family.
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Building a creative businessMy family has five generations from Guam. I left in the early 2000s for a career change and moved to Washington, D.C. We moved to Highlands Ranch in 2009. It’s a great place to raise a family.Congressional auditing is my main job. My wife, Mary Aflague, and I also have an online business — the Gerard Aflague Collection — that sells Guam artwork. In 2012, I illustrated an endangered bird of Guam called the Guam rail using illustrating software. I posted the artsy illustration on my Facebook page to share with friends. It wasn’t intended to be a product. Immediately, I received inquiries.Days later, I was asked to attend a Chamorro — the ethnicity of the natives from Guam and the Marianas islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota — festival in San Diego, California as a vendor. Feeling the enthusiasm of the people at the Chamorro festival and the encouragement from strangers telling me that they appreciate the cultural significance of what I do, I took my artwork and incorporated it into many home, auto, and office products.We don’t know where the future will bring us, however we look forward to being the number one source of goods online for those that seek to represent their island cultures.The culture of GuamGuam is interspersed with military people and people from China that come for work and stay. There are 10,000 tourists on any given day. Beach is part of our weekly culture, so are fiestas and parties. The Catholic faith is very strong. There is a strong social and community structure with a lot of support.My mother passed away earlier this year and more than 60 people came before to pray. Eight hundred people came to her funeral. There is so much love and closeness of the people in Guam. There is truly a special thing about being back home, being in the islands.There are limited resources for technical skill and opportunities for learning. You have a lot of that here (in the states), but you don’t have that sense of community.North Korea missile threatI’ve heard threats in the past. It’s not a matter of if they can do it, and it worries me. My dad, siblings and first, second and third cousins are in Guam.I own property there and I have the potential to go back. What will this mean for my own home, my island? I’m not sure what it would do on shore. It would literally shut down the tourism industry overnight.My ideal situation is that Guam is still around and that it is a peaceable environment. I want to be able to know that I can go home in the future to an island that has been untouched by war, unaffected by this threat. I’d like to see our people have more voice, more ability as an island to make decisions about their own direction.I’d like people to see less of Guam as a military place and more of a place to enjoy the scenery.
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