The Valley of Sufficient Life
palms still standing. They used heavy equipment, which crushed a historic grave in the process. Workers apologized, said they were only following orders, they did not know.
“How can you know if you do not ask, if you are not from here,” he says with his heart.
Some malama Halawa as families once did, but the rainforest of today has conquered the lo`i of yesterday. Nature and man have changed the `aina, but the story Pilipo tells has not changed, passed down from countless generations of Halawa kupuna.
He says, things are not secret, they are sacred. Pilipo’s ultimate message is respect – to care for the valley he believes one must know what it was before and to understand the ultimate sense of place. Nana i ke Kumu, “seek the source.”
His tutu kane, David Kapuwai Akina, once told him to share the mo`olelo of Halawa, so people can know and respect where they live and where they are.
“When?” Pilipo asked.
“When you feel it, burning in your soul – that is me, and you know the time is right,” was the message his tutu kane left.
Pilipo may not be here tomorrow. He is one of the last of the unbroken generations of Halawa farmers still in the valley. He asks all to look at Halawa as a whole, spiritual and physical, to obtain a greater sense of place. Mana is found in the knowledge and respect of the ahupua`a.
The sun has journeyed across the valley once more, and as it readies for sleep behind the Western cliffs, shadows cast from the dominating forest grow long. The mo`olelo is there, hidden by the forest but not darkened by the shadows.
“Feel the spirit of Halawa and the ancestors that gave it life,” he asks. “The kupuna of Halawa are alive; like Haloa, they are everywhere.”
Pilipo Solatario is a master storyteller and a Kumu of the Halawa mo`olelo. After many years as the cultural director of Molokai Ranch he has returned to his birthplace. Blow the pu, Pilipo makes time to talk story to all who inquire.
“I speak to educate so all who listen can respect, otherwise our people will be overgrown like the Halawa of today.” This is Pilipo’s hope. This is Pilipo’s message.