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Imu Workshop Marks the Beginning of a New Tradition

Families and friends of Ka Pa‘alana and Ke Kama Pono, two programs of Partners in Development Foundation, were invited to participate in a 2-day imu event in Wai‘anae on September 24th and 25th, making for a character-building and culturally-relevant workshop where everyone got his or her hands dirty and sweaty. This was the first of its kind for us, to bring parents and their children together and have them participate in an intense cultural activity.

In Polynesian circles, it is common to involve everyone with projects of this magnitude, but this one was special because there was an additional agenda, which was to have all the participants imbibe PIDF’s five core values into the project from beginning to end. Each person was given the task of understanding the significance associated with the Native Hawaiian values Aloha, Mālama, Lōkahi, Pono, and Po‘okela. Then, as they worked side by side with each other, they had to determine which of the values they were using to accomplish each task. To my surprise, the families enjoyed the challenge and were seen talking to each other about the values while they worked.

The workshop went on without a hitch and was one of the smoothest activities we have ever hosted. I believe the key was the opening circle on the morning of the first day when Anakala ‘Iokepa DeSantos introduced PIDF’s core values and discussed each one at length. An example is when he talked about being Pono and how it relates to our ancestors being present all the time, and how we should be mindful of our language in their presence. He went on to share about how it is not Pono when someone swears for no reason, which has become a common occurrence with so many people these days. Needless to say, it made a significant impact at the workshop because the swearing decreased to zero by the lunch hour of the first day and remained absolutely absent throughout the second day.

All in all, a total of 5 children, 8 youth, 6 parents, 3 volunteers, and 19 staff were on-hand to contribute to the activities and enjoy the experience. The project was such a success that we are looking at doing these parent/family imu workshops on a regular basis. Our next imu workshop will take place during the week of Thanksgiving 2010. Mark your calendar!