Written By Rachel Kapule – Program Coordinator
He ʻaʻaliʻi ku makani mai au; ʻaʻohe makani nana e kulaʻi. ʻŌN #507
I am a wind-resisting ʻaʻaliʻi; no gale can push me over.
These past few months have been challenging for us all, as many of our daily routines were thrown off balance. For those in school, classes were transitioned online and students had to learn how to adapt. None of us could have anticipated or prepared for this. But despite all the adversity, our ASA pilot cohort stood firm like the ʻaʻaliʻi tree; they finished the semester strong and had officially completed their first year at Windward Community College and Hoʻokuaʻāina.
Our Ahupuaʻa Systems Apprenticeship (ASA) program was designed to educate and cultivate the next generation of people committed to living the values and practices of a once sustainable island food system. It is a collaborative opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience and earn a stipend while starting their college career at WCC. Paul and Mikey are a part of our pilot cohort that began last year. It has been amazing to watch them step into leadership positions and share their experiences with the new cohort one that began just a few weeks ago. In this new cohort, we have been blessed to have two returning interns as well as eleven strong and dedicated wahine, 13 total, committed to the program for 2 years. We’re all excited to build new relationships and grow our ʻohana even more. We’ve also been fortunate enough to hire two summer interns that fit right in with the rest of us. It definitely helps to have all these extra hands on the farm! We’ve been able to spend time on other important things that sit lower on our priority list, like building out new showers. You won’t have to run the hose across the street anymore!
The ASA students have already had the opportunity to experience weeding, fertilizing, pulling kalo, managing orders, prepping patches, and planting grass! While we do love just having more help in the loʻi, we love even more hearing their “whys;” what drives them to be here at Hoʻokuaʻāina and to pursue a college degree. The 15 (including the 2 from the pilot year) of them are becoming a team and will go through WCC together. They’re already getting a taste of college through an online summer Ahupuaʻa course that they have enrolled in. So far, they’ve learned about the kumulipo and have been able to relate it to working with kalo. We can’t wait to see what these next two years have in store for them and see how much they grow as individuals and as a whole.
Source: Pukui, M. K. (1983). ‘Ōlelo No‘eau Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings. Honolulu, Hawaii: Bishop Museum Press.