(This post a reflection from a class visit from our Kumu (Teacher) Makana Kane Kuahiwinui, who spoke to us about the Hawaiian cultural perspective on water, in general and specifically in our Manoa Valley.)
The work we have been doing and thinking about water consumption at times seem disconnected from a real problem, situation and solution. Kumu’s sharing today broadened my thinking because I usually see most things through a western science perspective. Is it dirty? How do we know? How can we clean it? I deepened that meaning by really backing up and considering what the water all around, the rain (Tuahine) we see every day, the running water on campus, Wailele and how it sits with Kahala O Puna in the middle of campus. I need to recommit myself to not just going for learning information but learning to be present in this moment and know why and how it matters.
The connection to this place in Manoa is something that we can do something about if that speaks to us. The importance of how water is around us and why and what we could do with it is a lesson and a challenge. And an opportunity.
I also think that the idea of ‘amakua and the importance of Pueo is interesting. The fact that Hawaiian culture speaks of the importance of a generational tie to what might be our guardian’s ties to families and their histories binds us together to this land.
Lastly I am struck by the importance of story. The value of connecting events, places, people through a compelling narrative is a uniquely human characteristic. I can do better job of using stories as a means to conveying ideas, values, concepts, etc. I should find more storytellers to help engage and tie together our work… Who might this be?
What was my wish for Wailele? That I don’t go by without checking in on her and asking how we are doing with her. We, our students, can visit and ask “how are you doing, how are WE doing?”