Aloha Kauhale Kākou,
Building a relationship between our Kauhale and Miloliʻi, South Kona, has finally begun.
Miloliʻi is a rural fishing village, here villagers are born into an ancient culture of living within the environmental currents of their ocean lifestyle. Kids to adult alike are fisherpeople, ʻōpelu being their signature ocean crop. By the way, if you have time, google-search the Miloliʻi ʻŌpelu Project, you will get a glimpse into traditional knowledge of a fishing community: http://www.bigislandvideonews.com/2013/10/14/video-the-miloliʻi-ʻopelu-project/
Figure 1 Miloliʻi is located between Oceanview and Hōnaunau
Since the emergence of Hawaiʻi Papa O Ke Ao became active on our campus, Miloliʻi was on my mind as a place we needed to build academic-cultural relations. Together with our sister-campus, UHH, our former students invited 15 HawCC-UHH faculty, staff and learners into their village, providing a community-supported platform for us to outreach into their community. In attendance were their local charter school learners from elementary to high school, as well as parents and community leaders. We used the hei (ritual string figures used in protocol) to assist us in becoming familiar with each other. We used the hei to introduce the idea of higher education as a contributor to the wellbeing of their village. Through the hei weʻve learned that we may not know our communities the way we should.
In short, connections have been made to the mutual benefit of both village and academia alike. We were invited back to assist in the closing of the gap between places like Miloliʻi and Academia.
Figure 2 Keone Chin, HLS Outreach, teaches hei as a way to build college-community relations
Before leaving the village, we were told this story of how one of the University Programs sent a chartered bus to drive down to the village to pick up the village students for a cultural-academic experience outside of Miloliʻi. The bus arrived but not one child got on the bus…they were not to be seen!
The lesson in this? Not because we provide access into our experiences that it alone will insure that anyone will get on the bus! It takes more than just access, obviously.
Something to think about,
Kauhale- Acting Director