Written By Lana & Mikayla
As the pink clouds reflect on the shimmering, churning ocean, transforming it into an opalescent purple sea of wonders, we awoke to another week that will transcend beyond our expectations.
IT WAS CRAZZYYYY!!!!!!!!
Truly fulfilling our internal desires to work vigorously, we gave this week our all. With that, we experienced so many beautiful moments, laughed until there were tears in our eyes, and shared how grateful we are for everything as we sat around the campfire. We slayed this week.
We continued our work on the Hawaiian Land Trust with Kia’i, gaining much knowledge and sweating much sweat. We found fun in testing our strength and seeing who could carry the heaviest log (obviously Lana). As we helped clear spaces to preserve endemic plant species, we shared valuable conversations.
After a long day of work, we hopped down to the river to cool off, feasting on a fresh, wild coconut that was drifting through the crystal water like a pirate ship cutting through the waves (we mashed open said coconut violently with large rocks). That evening, we attended our second capoeira lesson, a Brazilian martial arts. Being surrounded by many locals made us feel engulfed in the community. It felt invigorating to expand on our skills. At the end we all joined in a circle to sing and play instruments as we took turns sparring. The atmosphere was thick with love and excitement, which melted into our hearts. We also fell down a lot- which was funny.
The next day of working started off strong. Luke found love in the process of fertilizing and watering native vines, connecting with each and every plant. Andrew, in turn, enjoyed weeding the highly invasive California grass with Kia’i, absorbing the sense of accomplishment that came with it. Mikayla and Lana left work each day with an incredibly dramatic, thick sheen of black, sandy dirt plastered across every millimeter of their muddy skin. Like… a lot. Whatever you’re picturing, picture more.
Friday night got extra wild as we hit the town to attend Dr. Nat’s salsa class. We learned the basics, jamming out with a live local band serenading us. We all had a good time grooving out, none of us fell flat on our faces, but Wynn and Delia stole the stage with their stellar dance moves. It was freeing to let loose and dance as if no one was watching.
We rose with the sun the next morning to leave for our hike on the Waihe’he Ridge-Trail! Geared up to the max, we ventured up the mountain to reach a foggy summit. The ground beneath our hiking shoes was streaked with reds and yellows and hints of blue. The hike held great views of a valley with a waterfall and the town below. Slip and fall count: 2
The day was young so we hit the town. Exploring Pa’ia we were able to get our coffee and acai bowl fix, listen to some live music, and accumulate even more stickers.
We spent a morning doing a beach clean up with Rebel Hawaii. Learning about micro plastics and nerdles, we sifted through the sand in search of said plastics. Needless to say… there was a LOT of pieces of trash hidden beneath the sand. We also discovered the importance of using reef safe sunscreen, and how certain sunscreens that market themselves as ‘reef safe’ can still contain harmful chemicals that kill the algae growing on the reefs, ABOLISHING the coral.
That evening as the moon glistened on the water, music filled the salty air. As we sat in the sand, Omer and Emily shared original compositions that outshined the stars above us. We’re lucky to have such talented artists to fill our ears and hearts with melodies of splendor.
After a couple more days of eradicating invasive species and building fencing to protect the aina and the kupuna of the land, the end of our stay creeped closer. We reflected on the restoration we were able to accomplish, on how our efforts paved a path for environmental change. It’s beautiful how twelve hands working as one can make such a lasting impact. Taking a moment to show our gratitude to Kia’i, we presented him with an offering for the ahu. The offering was made of driftwood, hand woven rope, and multi-colored lobster shells we found on the beach. Imbedded in every part of it is our everlasting love for the land.
With GiGi appreciating walking under the moon and catching the radiant sunrises and Max enjoying naps in the breeze, we will continue forth with these precious memories for the rest of our lives.
Take some time to appreciate the nature that surrounds you!
Lana and Mikayla