What's going on in Hawaii? We touched base with Grace and Leah to find out what the second week had instore for Hawaii Group A!
"Our second week was spent in Pahala doing conservation work. We split into two groups -- one group went back to Onekahakaha Beach Park to continue removing the branches from beneath a very large tree. Although it was a lot of work, we loved talking to Leomana, our contact with County Parks, about the meaning of life and how to live it to the fullest. We also had a blast climbing the tree and javelining the branches as far as we could. Meanwhile, the other half of the group spent the morning painting poles in a nearby park and playing “tennis,” blindfolded boxing, ninja, and arm wrestling. Needless to say, there were many swollen hands and popped blood vessels.
The next day started with an early morning as we piled into the van and headed off to Volcano National Park where we hiked through the Kilauea crater. We tried to get there before the rain but ended up hiking in it anyways. Throughout the hike, a light fog surrounded us and the rain made the scenery look better than any of us could ever hope. We took bets on how high we thought the crater walls were, but as we got closer our judgments were greatly miscalculated.
Once we arrived back at the van, everyone was soaked and happy to jump in the van. Although, not before Grace and Gigi’s jumping photo shoot. Back at the Pahala house, everyone took the opportunity to recharge and prepare for another round of conservation work. The next two days were filled with more conservation work, with one group heading back to the Buddhist monastery for more gardening work, and the other group at a new site, Whittington Beach Park. We spent a few hours cleaning grasses and shrubbery off and around a large lava rock wall, and were joined by big, scary, yellow spiders and a couple of centipedes. The leader of the site, Dennis, was so amazed at how fast we cleared the area that he piled us into the back of his pick-up truck and brought us to a couple of scenic points along the water. We saw turtles riding the waves and played chicken to see who would get closest to the edge because the closer we got, the more spray would fall on us as the waves crashed into the rocks.
We were officially done with conservation work and spent the day at the house with a woman named Rosa who is a native Hawaiian. She taught us about the Pico (the bellybutton of life) and how to connect to our surroundings like traditional Hawaiians. At the end of the workshop, she taught us how to make braided tea leaf leis, which the girls generally excelled at over the boys (I wonder why?). Our toes and hands were quite sticky in the aftermath, but some of the leis turned out very good! In the evening, the boys continued their nightly card game of Durok and everyone watched Love Island, which Luke is now obsessed with.
Next up was another R&R day with the opportunity to go back to Volcano National Park for another hike. We hiked to the top of the Mauna Ulu crater, which was an impressive sight to see. We spent some time up there taking in the views of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa and the giant crater of Mauna Ulu. The rest of the day was filled with packing and cleaning, as we were getting ready to leave. We left the Plantation house at 8am the next morning, driving to downtown Hilo where most of the group spent a couple of hours exploring the area. Leah, Gigi, Jack, and Peter spent 2 hours shopping for the upcoming week, at our next location (Big Island Farms), where the staff is strictly vegetarian/vegan. When we finally arrived at BIF, Anu showed us to our cabanas (aka shacks) and we ended the day with our first vegetarian meal, frozen pizzas. We’re looking forward to the adventure that we’ll have here at our first organic permaculture, vegetarian farm!"
Leaders of the week, Grace and Leah