A New Pace of Life
By Hazel Carey S. Pasana, MHS Senior, WIN Writers
Born and raised in the Philippines, growing up I often felt the weight of societal expectations. Being a woman in a third-world country sometimes felt like trying to soar with clipped wings. These early experiences fueled my passion for gender equality and social justice.
Life wasn’t easy during those early years, and I had to learn to be self-reliant from a young age. I became acutely aware of the dynamics of the society I was raised in, often feeling like an unnoticed breeze, passed by without leaving a mark.
Moving to Molokai was a whole new world for me, and one of its striking features is the remarkable power in everyone’s voices, regardless of their gender. While not everyone might agree, especially coming from a place where this wasn’t the norm, I found it refreshing.
I vividly remember a moment when I was sitting on a deckchair, listening to my dad share stories about the island. I couldn’t help but ponder why Molokai seemed different from where I came from.
So, I gathered the courage to ask him, “everything’s going fast, don’t they want to keep up with the rest of the world? Why don’t they want change?”
It is a bit hard to ponder when throughout your life, all you’ve ever known was change.
He then said, “you cannot change the ‘aina; instead, let the ‘aina change you.”
I didn’t fully grasp it at the time. I simply shook my head and moved on.
However, after living on Molokai for almost three months, I began to notice a transformation within myself. I made friends as I started school, and I felt more grounded in this slower-paced environment. Here, people take the time to greet each other and engage in genuine conversation. It was a stark contrast to the constant pressure I had felt back in my home country to keep up with the world and work tirelessly, simply because I was born a woman in a third-world country.
Molokai taught me the value of a different pace of life, where people find strength in their voices and a deep connection to the land. It’s a place where change isn’t feared but approached with respect and mindfulness. I found a sense of inner peace and a community that values the richness of life over the speed of it.
Beyond the slower pace of life, I’ve come to admire how freedom of speech isn’t just a right; it’s a cherished value here. In this community, people acknowledge the rights of women to speak, to lead, and to excel in equal measure with men. It’s not just about acknowledging potential; it’s about recognizing that women can, and often do, stand shoulder to shoulder, if not ahead, in every sphere.
Through my experiences and newfound sense of belonging, I am determined to empower others, ensuring that no one else feels like an unnoticed breeze passed by without leaving a mark.