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    Saturday, December 7, 2019-5:21:46A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Project Aligi: ‘A beautiful idea’

PROJECT Aligi, which the Lady Diann Torres Foundation launched recently, is not only about preserving the island culture, but it also aims to spread a strong message of hope.

This was pointed out by Meena Benavente, chairperson of Project Aligi, at the Rotary Club of Saipan meeting on Tuesday.

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Meena Benavente, chairperson of Project Aligi, speaks during the Rotary Club of Saipan’s meeting on Tuesday at the Hyatt Regency Saipan’s Giovanni’s Restaurant.  Photo by Junhan B. Todiño

The Rotarians, led by club president Marcia Ayuyu, expressed support for the endeavor carried out by local artists who paint images on Commonwealth Utilities Corp. power poles.

“This is a beautiful idea of first lady Diann Torres, the Marianas Visitors Authority and Masato Tezuka, president of Tasi Tours,” Benavente said.

The images will reinforce the spirit of “Marianas Strong” and resiliency among community members while promoting local culture and local artists as well as beautifying the island, she added.

Benavente said they want to paint beauty on an object — a concrete power pole — that represents the devastation and the pain that people have gone through after Typhoon Yutu.

“We also give people a reminder that we are here to help each other. And we are here to continue to give hope,” said Benavente who started painting “Marianas Strong” themes on tin debris immediately after Yutu to symbolize what was lost in the typhoon.

“We lost half of our trees, we lost half of our souls but we still do have the other half, and guess what: we can grow them back,” she said.

Benavente encouraged Rotarians to get involved in Project Aligi so “we can give our community hope and a chance to hope for the best.”

Claudia Flores of Project Aligi said they have different themes for the island’s various locations.

On Saipan, from Garapan to San Antonio Beach Park, the theme is the ocean painted dominantly in blue; from Chalan Laulau to San Roque: history, culture and the color is yellow; from the airport to the Atkins Kroll intersection, flowers and fauna, and the colors are orange and peach; from San Vicente to Capital Hill, nature, and the color is green.

On Tinian, the theme is ocean at Jones Beach, Tachogna Beach and Taga Beach; flowers and fauna on Broadway; history and culture in San Jose; and nature, including fruit, vegetable, trees and animals, in Marpo and Carolinas areas.

Benavente said they have yet to decide the theme for Rota which has a few concrete power poles.

At present, they have less than 10 local artists for the project “so are encouraging more local artists to sign up,” Flores said.

First lady Diann Torres said they also encourage businesses and non-profit organizations to adopt areas for Project Aligi.

She said participating businesses and groups can paint their organizations’ logos with a theme that promotes Chamorro and Carolinian culture and arts.

Residents who have concrete power poles in front of their homes may also adopt them for Project Aligi, she added.

Masato Tezuka said Tasi Tours is very supportive of the beautification program and has donated $1,000 for the project.

For her part, Rotary Club of Saipan president Marcia Ayuyu said they would like to adopt a power pole for Project Aligi.

“We will definitely see what we can do to help,” she added.

At present, Project Aligi’s partners and sponsors are the Lady Diann Torres Foundation, local artist Meena Benavente, the Marianas Visitors Authority, the Department of Corrections, the Commonwealth Utilities Corp., Tasi Tours, the Rota Mayor’s Office, the Tinian Mayor’s Office, the Municipality of Tinian, and Pratt & Lambert Paints.