Monica’s Visit to Molokai
Monica Garcia separates honey during part of the production process at Molokai Mele.
Stepping off the ferry, I was quickly welcomed with a hug from Carla Hanchett. Being my first time to Molokai, I didn’t know what to expect upon arrival and was happy to feel that much aloha from a stranger. I was a little taken aback by the immediate sense of comfort in an unfamiliar place, but was quickly put at ease once I saw all of the smiling faces around me. I felt as if I were at home.
We spent two days getting to know the lifestyle on Molokai and experiencing some of what Molokai has to offer. Visiting L&R Farm showed me just how hard-working the people of this close-knit community really are. It was amazing to not only see, but feel the love and the respect people of Molokai have for their land, their friends, and their families. Putting our hands and our efforts into caring for the ‘ain? at Ka Honua Momona Fish Pond was an uplifting experience. Uncle Merv Dudoit’s passion for preserving the Hawaiian culture radiated through his eyes and his persona. It was that passion that drove us, the Focus Maui Nui Youth Alliance, to want to partake in those efforts in any way we could. Visiting the Molokai Meli LLC Honey Bee Farm was very inspirational. It was awesome getting to know the Kaneshiro family. Not only is their honey sweet, but so their attitudes towards business and working together, as a family.
My trip to Molokai exceeded my expectations. I am truly thankful for the hospitality everyone on the island has shown us. Allowing us to explore the island and learn about it is the greatest gift one can ask for. I thank Kauwila for her heart, Sybil for all of the laughs, Auntie Tika for the ono grinds, and Todd Yamashita for taking the time to speak with us. Like I’ve said before, one only needs to be on Molokai one day in order to feel the compassion, the love, and the respect all Molokai residents have for the ‘ain? and for all the people.
Focus Maui Nui Youth Alliance is a group of Maui County high school students empowered through educators, and community and business leaders to be an active voice in shaping our island communities. Once a month the students gather to explore a community feature and work to understand it through the Focus Maui Nui values: Improve education, Protect the natural environment, Address infrastructure challenges, Adopt targeted economic development strategies and Preserve local culture. Once a year the group visits neighboring islands, hence their recent Molokai Visit. For more info on Maui Nui, or Maui Nui Youth alliance visit www.focusmauinui.com.