Malama Kumu: DC

May 16, 2016

In from Cherie ‘17

The day began with a quick drive and a quick bite. After being whisked to Georgetown by an Uber and grabbing breakfast to go, Ke‘ala and I found our way through the large campus to White-Gravenor Hall where there was a brief informational presentation. Did you know that Antonin Scalia, a previous U.S. Supreme Court Justice, attended Georgetown? We were then taken on a tour of the campus, learning about Georgetown's deep historic background. Fun fact: Bradley Cooper, Sexiest Man Alive, went to Georgetown and used to practice his lines in the library, which he still does on occasion. Among all the buildings we were shown, a tower where supposedly if the hands of the clock are taken and sent to someone, that person will come to Georgetown. Someone did manage to climb up the tower and retrieve the clock hands and send them to the Pope. However, the Pope had to decline the invitation, instead blessing the clock hands and making them the only clock hands blessed by the Pope. Another tidbit shared was the backstory of Georgetown's cheer, "Hoya saxa." Georgetown used to have baseball games on their grass field outside of White-Gravenor Hall. Fans would sit on the stone wall and cheer on their team. At the time, students were required to take either Greek or Latin. Thereafter one student came up with "Hoya saxa," which means, "What rocks." And since "Hoya" or "What" can't really be a mascot, Jack the bulldog took to light.

After our tour we hurried off to set up for the Wa'a Talks at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria. We had prepared several stations including a table to brief visitors on the Hōkūle'a and a station where we would teach people to make either a fish or a star out of lauhala. The presentation slideshow was very informational and reiterated the history behind the making of the Hōkūle'a. It was there that we met Sam, a Navajo boy who came to our talk on the recommendation from his teacher. We took him on a tour of the canoe and got to chat with him further.

He's a senior at Georgetown Day School and will be going to an Indian Reservation in New Mexico next year. We learned that he is very involved in the American-Indian community and connected deeply with his roots. This writing alone cannot do justice that in-depth conversation we held with him ranging from Native-American programs to rightfully preserving culture. He opened my eyes that the Hōkūle'a doesn't only serve as a symbol of caring for our planet, but also as a connection between everyone it touches. We discussed programs to connect Natives, the consequences of fracking (simply, drilling into the earth to release the gas inside) that are detrimental to the earth, the struggle of "fitting in" to a majority race, and how to revive a culture in an apathetic society.

Ke‘ala and I serve as educators to help teach others about the canoe, and yet today I was the one educated. The universe is rarely too lazy to allow coincidences. Our meeting with Sam was something more; learning each other's stories has only broadened my horizon and opened up my heart to the world and all it has to offer. Målama Honua means Care for our island Earth, but I think that that can also include its inhabitants. Let's all just simply care.