Reconnecting his family ties in SI - Solomon Star News

Reconnecting his family ties in SI

12 August 2017
Noah Jarrah [Photo: Facebook]

NOAH Jarrah, a university student studying in the US, was recently visiting his grandparents in Honiara.

He represented the 4th generation of his family connected to the Solomon Islands for over 63 years.

Noah’s great grandfather, Alvin Blum, served as a medical officer in the South Pacific during World War II and returned to the Solomon Islands in 1954.

He came with his wife, Gertrude Blum, and their seven year old daughter, Keithie, who has been the US Consular Agent in Honiara for many years.

Gertrude and Alvin Blum had a goal to contribute to the development of the Solomon Islands and to share with the people something they knew was wonderful, the Baha’i Faith.

Because there are no missionaries in the Baha’i Faith, the Blums needed to support themselves and so Alfred got a job managing a hotel.

Soon, however, he was using his savings to open different successful businesses, including a bakery, an ice cream shop, a laundry and dry cleaning business, a general store and a hotel.

Alfred passed away in Honiara in 1968 and Gertrude remained a permanent fixture in Honiara life and in the fast growing Baha’i community.

She was honored by Queen Elizabeth II in 1989 as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). 

She, too, passed away in Honiara in 1993.

For almost fifty years, Keithie Blum Saunders and her husband Sir Bruce Saunders, an Australian, have been involved in many businesses in Honiara.

Keithie set up one of the first kindergartens and created a fashionable clothing store.

True to the Baha’i Faith, they have continued to share its ideas of unity, justice, equality, compulsory education and elimination of religious and racial prejudice, to name a few.

The Saunders raised their three daughters in the Solomon Islands and one daughter remained with her husband and raised their three children here, too.

Noah is the son of one of the Saunders’ daughters, so that makes him 4th generation connected to Solomon Islands.

Noah was here visiting because of the 75th Commemoration of the Landing of the American troops on Guadalcanal leading to the retreat of the Japanese several months later.

Keithie Saunders, Noah’s grandmother, has been instrumental in planning the five day events for this occasion, while Sir Bruce as Chairman of the Solomon Scouts and Coastwatchers Trust has been involved in the organizing of the many events of the 75th Anniversay.

It is clear that when people give their hearts to the Solomon Islands, their commitments are long and deep.

Alvin and Gertrude Blum and Keithie and Sir Bruce Saunders are examples of people who have done just that and who have made a positive difference in the development of the nation.