The journey from Micronesia to Milan began in the early 1980's when Erik Thompson of Milan lived on the island of Chuuk as part of a stint in the Peace Corps. Thompson kept in touch with his host family on the island over the years and eventually his host brother from Chuuk asked if he could move to Milan and bring his family. Erik made the arrangements and eventually one family led to another with more and more relatives coming to join them. Today more than 20% of Milan's population is Micronesian and they are having an impact. "They've brought life to the community," says Thompson.
The episode is full of scenes of colorful social events and parties organized by the Chuukese people at the Milan Community Center. The program features touching moments of women singing and working together. "Music and dancing is a big thing in our lives and the elder people teach the younger ones from generation to generation," says teenager Christa Herman who is interviewed in the documentary. "We don't want to forget how to do those things."
The program also documents a community gardening and food processing experiment carried out by the community in the summer of 2013. Bob Ryan of Olivia talks about how he secured a grant to set up and organize the project which involved the entire community in an exploration of food self sufficiency. "It has been a very rewarding experience," said Ryan.
This special Postcards production was directed by Pioneer Public Television's award winning producer Dana Johnson. Johnson worked over the course of a year to collect the footage used in the final program. Johnson specializes in stories about how diverse people define what "home" means to them. Over the past few years she has produced specials about the Somali culture in Willmar, about young musicians who grew up in western Minnesota who find success in the big city and now this Micronesians in Milan piece. Johnson is currently working on a documentary about Haitian children who are adopted by western Minnesota families which will air in May of 2014.