RMIPA Provides an Educational Experience
Majuro students recently had an opportunity to dive a little deeper into some of the issues that affect their community.
Last week, a class of seniors from Majuro Cooperative School visited the RMI Ports Authority (RMIPA) headquarters in Delap and talked with RMIPA Director Jack Chong-Gum about all things ports – from operations and safety to parks and recreation.
The purpose of the visit was to provide the students with clearer picture of what the ports authority does, not only in terms of maintaining safe and efficient commercial and transportation services at the airport and seaports, but also with regards to its community outreach, job creation and environmental protection efforts.
“It is really our pleasure to be able to meet with the students,” Chong-Gum said. “Our community is closely connected and today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders. It’s a great opportunity for them to learn about some of the work going on in their backyards and also a great audience for us – to show them that we can make a positive impact.”
In addition to providing an overview of how operations work at the airport and seaports, Chong-Gum gave a tour of RMIPA’s recently launched website and also briefed the class on some of the major ongoing projects, including the expansion of the Runway Safety Area (RSA) at AKIA along with the associated Coral Remediation Program and the community park project being undertaken in partnership with Kora in Okrane (KIO) Club.
The park project, which will include picnic areas, a children’s playground and a paved exercise track, broke ground in November and will provide a new ideal place for family gatherings. The Coral Remediation Program, in cooperation with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), involves growing new coral in the lagoon that will be relocated or replanted at the RSA site area to replace any that may have been impacted from dredging activities. It is the first project of its kind in the Marshall Islands.
Student Beauty Tombler said that what she learned during the visit gave her a new outlook on the work the ports authority performs. “It was a great to learn that what RMIPA is doing at the airport is for a good cause – safety,” she said. “To be honest, I always thought of the construction at the airport as nothing more than destruction of our coral reefs and killing of our natural wildlife, but I am glad to now have a bigger perspective of the outcome of the project.
The field trip to RMIPA is just one of several that Co-op instructor David Applebaum has been arranging for his students. “I think the students really got a lot out of it – I certainly did,” Applebaum said. The visits are short, but at least we get a taste of what goes on at each place.”
Sitting from left to right are Ryan Jaji Muller, Jolynn Gideon, Damien Lemari and Joseph Katjang. Standing are Jack Chong-Gum (RMIPA Director) and Mr. David Applebaum (their teacher).
Missing from the photo is Beauty Tombler.
Photo credit: Jon Pasierb
What they Said…
I learned a lot of things during the visit. I like the idea of the project of extending the runway just in case something goes wrong. I was surprised to hear that Majuro has the longest runway. I learned from a visit at Trust Company that the Marshall Islands is in the top 3 countries to register boats and now we have one of the longest runways in Micronesia. For a small country I think this is great. — Damien Lemari
And it is great to know that the company is also reaching out to the people and setting up picnic areas and playgrounds to replace those of which have been covered. Although we miss our picnic areas, the visit gave us an understanding that not only are you thinking about the safety of the people, but you are also thinking of the happiness and joy as well. — Beauty Tombler
We learned a lot. I learned many things about the airport project that Port Authority is doing. This project will create many new jobs. This will help people who are unemployed to get a job, which people need to support themselves. — Joseph Katjang
I am happy that there is a new park you guys are making for the community. I did not know how strong and dangerous a plane’s engine is until you showed me how strong it is with the video on your website. — Ryan Jaji Muller