The Waimea and Kona Tūtū and Me teams set out on Valentines Day for our first Kumu A’o professional development day of the new year. Kumu A’o translated means, “source of learning” and Uncle Morgan Toledo of Waipio Valley Poi was our teacher for the day.
Like the Hawaiian proverb, “ma ka hana ka ‘ike”; in working one learns, Uncle Morgan made us a list of things in which we could do to help. His one simple request was for us to work with K.A.L.O.
An acronym fitting for the occasion, if we live and work by these values good things will happen. K.A.L.O helps us to put into perspective the day’s work ahead of us and the work we do every day in serving our families and keiki in our communities.
At the kahawai (stream, river), Uncle showed us how to grab rocks from the river floor and restore the dam one stone at a time. Proud of what our hands have accomplished together, we admired how the water pooled and rushed toward the irrigation canal that feeds into the lo‘i where we would head next. In the lo‘i he instructs us to step on the crom to loosen the kalo, pull it out with our hands and clean off the roots while he removes the lau (leaves) and kalo (crom) with a knife and reserves the huli (crown and stem) for planting. With Uncle leading, we followed and planted our huli in a neighboring pond. We are humbled by the simplicity and sustainability of life in the lo‘i. “How long do you think this kalo you are planting will be here”, he asks? Each huli has about 20 keiki and if you do the math, “the kalo you plant could be around 100 years from now.” As we stood in awe and appreciation of the aloha Uncle Morgan shared with us and the small yet meaningful part we played in the perpetuation of the Hawaiian culture, we are blessed.