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A Delicate Balance

Opinion by Clare Mawae

Recently, I watched those that I love, respect and care about protest the yacht Safari Explorer come to our shores. As a business owner and a resident of Molokai, I consistently seek the balance with how I conduct business. Change is always scary and the fear of the future is no different but as I reflect on the past decade, it is hard to dismiss the economic hardships, which continue to burn a huge scar into the hearts of people worldwide.
Small businesses have and continue to struggle for survival over the past decade and 2012 is not looking much better. Unemployment is rising, state and federal programs are being cut back, the safety of government job whether state or federal still hangs in the balance and the small business scrapes the pennies to make it through another month.
On Oct. 25, the Safari Explorer came to the shores of Molokai for a blessing of the boat. Six years of planning with many discussions with local elders/kupuna, businesses and individuals were done with a process considered right that would help kick start a spluttering Molokai economic engine. Molokai had surely suffered with the knocks that the people had taken over the decade of change. To so many in the community the yacht is a blessing because of the opportunities that it can create to not just those twenty businesses immediately involved but to the expansion of jobs and to other branch out effects that commerce can bring to the community. No one project can benefit the entire community instantly but as time passes the next person benefits along with creative ideas and entrepreneurial startups.
We can go back and forth, on what is the right protocol but pointing fingers is not the answer.  A solution is present along with constructive talk and discussion. Please bear in mind that commerce and keeping a healthy economic cycle is an important component to keeping our community alive. If grant money runs out and welfare, state and federal programs were taken away, would the opinions shift?
The common ground that both protestors and supporters of this new venture is the saying “no cruise ships” as that would surely offset the balance of economics, rural and cultural beauty that Molokai holds. No locally owned business on Molokai can handle huge numbers but this venture brings a balance that is sought within the business community, so it can serve its community.

Perhaps Molokai can take the culture both past and present, perpetuate and preserve, but in the same breath use this in helping to keep the island alive in both a sustainable economic and cultural environment. Many want balance and perhaps this opportunity can help us settle future protocols for the last time, with equal input from both sides of the line. So perhaps we as a community should say, “Isn’t it time to find the balance, haven’t we had enough grumbling already?”


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