Kawaikini Hemolele i ka Mālie
Lihuʻe, Kauaʻi me na huakaʻi
K-2, 3-5, 6-8
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Hauʻoli wau no ka hui ʻana me koʻu mau hoa i ke kauwela. Hiki ke hele i ʻo i ʻaneʻi ma Kauaʻi nei no nā huakaʻi, a leʻaleʻa loa ka manawa. ʻAʻole pono i noho ma ka hale me koʻu tutu.
We were blessed yet again to provide a gratuitous summer enrichment program this year 2023 in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi including snacks/meals/beverage and strived to invite our ʻohana kula who are struggling in ʻōlelo or have little to no support in learning our mother tongue. We have successfully completed this five week summer enrichment program that takes our students of first grade to fifth grade level around the island of Kauaʻi to visit four out of the five moku. This program is focused on our students building pilina with their mokupuni outside of their one hānau through visiting wahi pana and learning the names of their hiʻohiʻona ʻāina, listening to the moʻolelo, and experiencing the diligent work of our kupuna. The students have engaged in ʻāina based learning including hands-on experiences with community partners that explore ʻike kuʻuna, mālama ʻāina, restoration, character building, and physical activity.
This five week enrichment program runs from Monday through Friday, 7:30am to 4:00pm as we started each week based on campus to introduce a new moku and ventured to wahi pana within the moku in the following days of the week. Along with the introduction of a new moku, we enjoyed incorporating home economics and lei making skills every Monday for our students to learn how to prepare and make their own meals to eat and lei to hoʻokupu on our visit to each wahi pana. In the classroom, we began with a hoʻolauna activity to draw a portrait of themselves at their favorite place in their ahupuaʻa, in their one hānau, and show hiʻohiʻona of that place. In this activity, students display their own connections to their ʻāina and what they are familiar with within their own environment. In the first week, we focused on the moku of Puna where our school is located and continued onto each moku around the island.
In the moku of Puna, we visited the ancient structures of worship known as heiau in the ahupuaʻa of Wailua. There, we visited four heiau known as Poliʻahu, Hikinaakalā, Ka Lae O Ka Manu, Holoholokū, and a place of refuge known as Hauola. While visiting each heiau, the students analyzed the type, size, and which god the heiau may have been intended for. After observing the heiau of Poliʻahu, we wanted our students to experience the hard work of our kupuna from halihali pōhaku to kūkulu heiau. It was evident that our kupuna were intelligent in the design of the structure and in the building itself. The students then displayed their understanding of how our kupuna worked together to halihali pōhaku mai uka i kai by forming a line and transporting their water bottles from one end to the other. In this demonstration, the students also showed the mana and intention of the pōhaku to be used to construct the heiau by carrying the water bottle with the utmost care. In another activity, we used the sign at the site of Poliʻahu heiau as a reference to help draw the outline of the structure on a paper plate. In partners, the students were given one container of playdough to build their own heiau as our kupuna had done before. These hands-on activities have engaged our students in a fun way to experience the ʻike kupuna of heiau, the strategic communication with one another in ʻōlelo, and the physical labor to construct a heiau.
We then continued to our next moku where we visited the park of Kūhiō and participated in continuing to build the pā pōhaku that our middle school students had previously started. During our visit to the park, we got to bring the ʻike kupuna of heiau to a full circle from being able to visit the remaining of the heiau structures in Wailua, to building our own heiau from playdough, and to end it off with turning our hands to the ʻāina of Hōʻai and kūkulu heiau. At Hōʻai, our students learned and were able to reiterate the types of pōhaku used and its function to kūkulu pā pōhaku, which starts from the foundation rock known as the niho, the next is the pōhaku alo with a flat surface, then there are the small pōhaku pani hakahaka that were used to fill up the gaps, and finally the pōhaku pāpale to cap the top.
Another topic we focused on in this moku was kalo farming and the cultural significance of kalo to our lāhui Hawaiʻi. In the classroom, the students labeled and identified the parts of a kalo and participated in a crafting activity to build their own kalo to show each part of the kalo. For the remainder of the moku, we were blessed to have the opportunity to take our students to work alongside community partners in the field of kalo farming and visited their ʻāina momona in the moku of Kona. We got to help our local kalo farmers huki kalo, remove weeds to prepare the loʻi for planting huli, and pick 600 lau for a local church to make laulau.
Through conversations with our local farmers, we learned of some struggles they face such as apple snails that eats the huli, pigs that eats the kalo, the dwindling numbers of kanaka who are interested in continuing this cultural practice, and the great efforts to continue the true Kauaʻi Lehua variety as many kalo farmers have turned to GMO varieties. The students were able to compare the two kalo farms through the problems they face, the land characteristics of their ʻāina, and learn the varieties of kalo they are farming today.
As we went into the moku of Haleleʻa, as a class, we discussed what an ahupuaʻa is, the importance of fresh water and how the water travels through the uplands to the sea. In the discussion, we reflected on the ʻōlelo noʻeau, “hahai ka ua i ka ulu lāʻau,” which translates to “the rain follows the forest.” This was to help them to understand the basic cycle of fresh water traveling through the three main parts of an ahupuaʻa: kuahiwi, kula, and kahakai. The students analyzed the rain falling on the mountains where the forests are, which then pours into the waterfalls descending into the rivers, and flowing down to the sea. The students were then tasked to form their own ahupuaʻa using the sand and anything they could find on the ʻāina to show the three main parts of an ahupuaʻa and the flow of water. By familiarizing ourselves with what an ahupuaʻa is and the importance of water we gain an insight of how our kupunas pilina to the ʻāina and an insight of our own pilina ʻāina as well.
Through the exploration and teachings of each moku, our students have gained an understanding of kuleana as a steward of this ʻāina in identifying environmental issues we face today, strengthened their pilina to this ʻāina in learning the names and stories of each wahi pana, and exploring new interests as we turned our hands to the ʻāina. Now that our students have gotten a taste of their mokupuni of Kauaʻi as a whole, it is our responsibility to mālama all that we have learned, continue to apply our cultural values in our daily lives, and to hopefully extend their pilina ʻāina beyond what they have gained in this program.