Malama Kumu Going to DC

May 13, 2016

In from Andrea Bender
In San Francisco airport on our way to Washington, DC.

We arrived at 3:30 a.m. HST so we are a little tired, but still very excited about our trip. In preparation for our trip, we have met numerous times to talk about our goals for the trip and to learn about Hōkūle'a and the protocols we will use to greet the crew and the canoe. Kamehameha Schools invited us to a protocol practice where we learned and practiced the oli, prayers and mele for greeting the canoe. We also got to meet some of the other people who will be in DC for the arrival of Hōkūle'a. For our educational support of the canoe, we prepared lauhala to be used in a weaving activity.

Melisssa Lian and I prepared our classes for the Google hangouts we will do while in DC by sharing some of the information we will be using on our trip. We started with some basic facts about Malama Honua. We were surprised that some students knew very little about the journey. On the other hand, I have also heard students walking across campus talking about Hōkūle'a-related activities in class. When one student asked the other why he was learning about the Hōkūle'a, the first student replied, "Dr. Scott challenged all teachers to integrate a lesson on the Hōkūle'a in their curriculum." Melissa and I were able to integrate the voyage into our math classes by discussing the star compass that Nainoa Thompson developed to navigate on the Hōkūle'a, the design of the canoe and weaving of lauhala. We were surprised how many mathematical concepts we could incorporate while teaching our students about the voyage. While we started with the goal to connect math to the Hōkūle'a, we found ourselves talking about many other concepts that are the core of Malama Honua. We brainstormed ways to be sustainable and we talked about our connection to others around the world.

During our preparations, we met with a number of different people. Many people at Punahou have helped us to prepare. I am grateful for the time they took to share their past experiences with the Hōkūle'a. Meeting with Starr Johnson who just returned from a leg of the journey was especially informative. We also had a chance to meet with Nainoa Thompson which was inspirational. Hearing him talk in person about Hōkūle'a 's mission motivates us to spread aloha and the message Hōkūle'a is carrying with it. During our months of preparation, we talked with families of the students who are traveling with us, friends who are helping us prepare lauhala and other items for our trip, teachers at Punahou, and people who were just asking about the trip. No matter who we talked with, it was amazing how many connections people have to the Hōkūle'a. I have always seen Hōkūle'a as a symbol to bring people together, and I have now seen proof that Hōkūle'a 's journey is doing just that.