Wednesday, December 12, 2012

In the Last Days of 2012

8 December 2012: Visit to Aunty Donny's

The first sight.

The sounds of nature.

Our visit to Aunty Donny's kuleana lands was truly one of the highlights of the LAIP internship. As soon as we set sight on the secluded land at the foot of the mountains of He`eia, time had turned back. 

I don't remember too many moments in my life where all the sounds to hear was the wind, birds and water running from a nearby stream. It made me think of the land before the arrival of Westerners and the change they brought with them. 

Uncle Wally had taken us up to the water source, one of the contributors to streams that flow into He`eia fishpond. We walked through groves of chinese bamboo, brought in and planted by the military in order to create the conditions for "jungle combat training." As we approached the division in the forest, Uncle Wally performed a chant asking the akua for permission to pass and for safety. His words seemed to echo  from the air itself. I do not know Hawaiian language, but in that moment in the forest with a stiffled breeze, sunlight peering down through the leaves, and the steady stream of water before me, I felt the power of those ancient words. 

The water source.
We reached the source of water, right at the fold in the Ko`olau's. The aged walls of the mountain seemed to cradle in light as we sat back and drank the freshest water on the island. The idea that Native Hawaiians hundreds of years ago may have done the same thing gave me shivers.
Here, I realized that people like Aunty Donny, Uncle Wally, Paepae o He`eia, Judy, and Sherril are the reason the land won't ever be lost. Not just because they combat invasive species and promote the health of the land, but they also promote Hawaiian culture. I think as long as people value Hawaiian culture and live it true, the land will forever be in good hands. 

At the fold.
Thank you everyone for an amazing internship! Paepae o He`eia (Hi`ilei) for hosting us on our workdays, teaching us fishing, and showing us the meaning of physical labor. Aunty Donnie for giving us a different perspective and opening up your family and home for us. Judy and Sherril, you guys are the center of it all and it would not have happened without you.  Interns, it's been real. To you all, thanks for the good times that were had and I hope to see you again in the future. .

2012 Fall LAIP interns. Back row (left to right): Ka`ua, Andrew, Laura, Me (Ky). Front row (left to right): Brian, Ikaika, Ty, Lissa.
This was a great experience for me and I don't think I'd be able to fully state how you all affected me. Cheers, Ky
Me, having a "lucky you live Hawai`i" moment.