Malama Kumu: Leaving DC

May 20, 2016

In from Melissa Kanemasu ’95 Lian

After a busy week, Friday marked the day of our departure. We bid farewell to Kylee who was going on to New York and we headed to Dulles. During our time in the airports and on the flights, we had a chance to reflect on our experiences.

Highlights included:

  • Participating in the welcome ceremonies and seeing the Hōkūle'a sailing up the Potomac River greeted by huge crowds
  • Learning about traditions and beliefs of local Native American tribes and how they Malama Honua
  • Talking to many different people who were interested in learning more about the Worldwide Voyage
  • Meeting Representative Tulsi Gabbard, Senator Brian Schatz ‘90 and watching both Senators Hirono and Schatz testifying on the Senate floor
  • Visiting Episcopal and Marshall High Schools and working with their students
  • Delicious dinners of Mexican, Thai, Indian, Salvadorian and Spanish Tapas

It was also amazing to meet and talk with alumni at two PAAMA (Punahou Alumni Association Mid-Atlantic region) dinners during our trip. We reminisced about favorite teachers, Carnival, the Winne Units and other shared experiences. The alumni enjoyed hearing from Cherie and Keˋala about their interests and what it is like being current Punahou students. It was also fascinating for us to learn about the journeys and careers of some of the alumni after they graduated from Punahou. Upon learning I was a math teacher, one alumnus who is a consultant to the military explained how he recently led a seminar using y=mx+b as an analogy for a particular cost analysis.

We also met a number of Punahou alumni at the welcome ceremonies. It was exciting to see the Punahou and Hawai‘i pride on display as many wore shirts or hats with familiar logos. I was impressed to see the efforts of the alumni club, halau and other groups as they work to stay connected to their Hawai‘i roots. As a faculty member as well as an alumna, I was very proud to be able to speak about how Punahou has been especially supportive of the Worldwide Voyage, particularly the educational component.

We are all grateful to have had this opportunity to travel to the DC area in support of Hōkūle'a and Polynesian Voyaging Society. Upon returning home and seeing some of the images in the media of the Hōkūle'a sailing past some of the DC landmarks, it was hard to believe that we had the privilege to be a part of it. It was truly an unforgettable experience.