When the young volunteers of Na Pua No‘eau started their workday last Saturday, they were educated by Malia Chun with an oli followed by some stories about legendary gods who rambled throughout the Puna moku, especially around the Hulē‘ia. Ha‘ikū was the place that Pele and Kamapua‘a first met. And the Hulē‘ia River is the result of Pele rejecting Kamapua‘a’s advances, as he plowed his snout up the valley in anger. Malia also named every peak of the overlooking mountains, including Hā‘upu, the giant honu, who keeps an eye on everything that goes on below.
Then the kids went after the mangrove. They ganged up on the roots with loppers. They dragged big branches to the shredder. They formed a human conveyor belt and transported the smaller branches and roots to the trash bin. They kept at it, with occasional laughter and screaming, and constant sweat, until the old guys got too tired and called for a break. After the rice and stew from Dukes disappeared, the crew went back to work until 2 in the afternoon.
It was then time to go paddling. Filling 3 canoes, the Na Pua No‘eau gang paddled up river to see first-hand how badly the mangrove had taken over the banks of Hulē‘ia and covered up the walls of the ‘Alekoko Fishpond. Malia delivered a lesson on this paddling trip too, posing the question about whether the condition of the river might be a reflection of the condition of people who once gained health and strength from the river.
Mahalo to all who helped on this special Na Pua No‘eau Mālama Hulē‘ia workday:
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