Written By Loden and Nicco
Driving along the coastal Honoapiilani highway on our way to the campsite, we sat jetlagged and charged with anticipation around our makeshift lantern crafted from Nathan’s headlight and our value-size jug of dish soap. Our tents and makeshift kitchen cast shadows in the bright light of the moon. Over pizza we heard each other’s voices, which we were able to match to faces and names the next morning. We found our first night’s sleep (and many to follow) jarringly interrupted by enthusiastic (and piercingly loud) chickens. As we later learned from our local partners who came to camp and gave a cultural familiarity talk, the presence of the chickens is a small price to pay for the lack of giant red centipedes and scorpions, both of which they eat. Belle also got a kick out of talking about fertilizer with our contact Duane.
Over our first four days of orientation, we played name games, during which Katie and Nicco tragically slipped in the mud during All My Neighbors. After successfully completing our swim test, we reveled in the salt and sand of the sea. Ty is known for “solar charging” and spends a lot of his time lounging out in the Hawaiian sun. Later that night, we had the opportunity to meet with Harriet, an expert in the techniques of traditional Polynesian navigation. She blew everyone’s minds (especially Loden’s) with her explanations of travelling by wind, sea, stars, and clouds.
We took a trip into the town of Lahaina, beginning with a scavenger hunt to discover the meaning of Lahaina (“Merciless Sun”), who Warren and Annabelle are (they run a magic show), and an interesting fact about the town (Lahaina was originally the capital of Hawai’i). We ate açai bowls for dinner and Calvin and Gus bought a skim board that we later all took turns trying in the ocean (and ultimately wiping out hard on– Aleia’s in particular was quite spectacular!) We ended the night by playing a game artfully named ‘Poopy Cat,’ in which pictures and description ended wildly skewed by the end. One of our favorites was Amanda starting with ‘Zombie Wedding’ turning into a ‘zombie attacking a woman in a store’ to ‘drop dead gorgeous’ to ‘angel of death takes a soul.’
Our final day of orientation included Plato’s Circle of Truth; Nathan’s Diversity, Inclusion, and Privilege workshop; Rachel’s traveller vs. tourist session; and creating our group agreements. We celebrated the end of orientation by swimming at Olowalu Landing, stopping by the general store on our way. At Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop next door, Ben inspired us all to get pies (Vanessa would highly recommend the banana cream pie!). The leaders for the next 11 days were announced and Cooper and Katherine were assigned. They are so honored to be named these positions and can not wait to set the standard for the rest of the semester. We are beginning this week with our first local partners, where we will learn about traditional Hawaiian culture, help out on the farm, and learn how to hula and chant oli. We are all so excited for this next chapter in our journey and will keep you updated as it all unfolds.