The PIDF administration staff and support team stepped out of their office spaces and onto the fields of Kupa ʻAina for a team bonding workday to reset, mālama ʻāina, and recharge. The morning started under the towering embrace of Olomana, when all the staff gathered to hanu mai (breathe in), hanu aku (breathe out). After a pule set the day’s intentions, the staff split up into four groups based on the word that resonated most with how they felt at that moment: nourishment, mālama, pilikia, or healing.
Leanne walked the PIDF staff members into the kalo mala, or dryland farm for a nourishing activity. They selectively separated keiki kalo plants sprouting off the makua (parent) plant so that they could be replanted and soak in more nutrients. Likewise, outplanting the keiki kalo on their own allows them to retain nutrients without having to share with a larger plant. The team also prepared huli, or kalo stems, from previously harvested kalo so that they could be replanted. This age-old way of planting connects today’s people with ancient Hawaiʻi, so that the kalo plant may continue feeding the people of Hawaiʻi. This activity not only nourished the kalo, but also emotionally nourished themselves knowing they are investing in the well-being of future generations, too.
Celeste guided members of the administration in connecting to the ʻāina by pulling weeds. They grounded themselves with hanu (breath), and allowed their minds to clear through the practice of one of PIDF’s core values of Mālama, to take care. The staff plucked weeds from kalo patches, that can quickly become overgrown if not attended to. Weeds can strangle plants as well as take nutrients from the crops. Removing weeds is just as important as all the other steps that cultivate healthy growth for the food crops and stands as a reminder to take care of what takes care of us.
Machijah paved a way for his group to address pilikia (frustration or tensions), that individuals may have felt built up that they wanted to relieve. The members of this group were given machetes used to slim and replenish the overgrown banana trees that populate the acreage. They were encouraged to cut through tough feelings as they sliced through the wilted limbs of the tree. This activity reflects how to let go of what no longer serves you, allowing energy to flow to what you want to grow.
Mana led the activities that prompted healing. The team members took oʻo (large digging sticks) to puncture holes into the ground and tuck ʻōlena roots in. ʻŌlena, or turmeric, is a root in the ginger family used frequently as a spice in cooking, for dying clothes, and especially in lāʻau lapaʻau, or spiritual and medicinal healing practices. The team took turns digging and planting, and fell into a rhythm of rooting the ʻōlena roots so they may bloom in the months to come. The staff learned that though the growth will be slow, in the months to come, roots full of nutrients and vibrant colors are growing underneath the surface and will eventually sprout.