Lā 13: Pōʻahā, Malaki 9 Visiting Schools on Moʻorea
Welina mai e nā hoa heluhelu, eia māua ʻo Hiʻilani lāua ʻo Danson e ʻauamo hou nei i ia kuleana nalu. ʻO kēia ko mākou lā ʻumikūmākolu o ka huakaʻi, a nui nō hoʻi nā manaʻo a mākou e kaʻana ai. Eia ka hopunaʻōlelo o ka lā: “Ka ʻike i kikilo ai i nā mamo.” He manaʻo maikaʻi kēia e hōʻike i ka nui ʻike kupuna i makana ʻia iā mākou, ka ʻohana Nāhiku. ʻO ka ʻoiaʻiʻo ua pohā ka lae!
Our third day in Mo‘orea was full of engaging events. It seemed like such a social day but was filled with knowledge sharing and learning. After breakfast, we made our way to the bus to visit a local school named College de Paopao. This institution is not like a typical US college, where the students are in their 20s; it is equivalent to a middle/high school in the US. We were greeted with lei filled with aloha from all of the students at the school, and then it was time to prepare for our performance. Walking down to the stage pavilion, the students looked curiously looked at us wearing our lole Hawaiʻi – malo and pā‘ū. Even during our performance, it seemed as if the entire school was totally engaged in our hula. They must've felt the spiritual connection between our two cultures.
Following our performance were a few Powerpoint presentations by the students which talked about daily life on Moorea. However, they had to present in english, and that is not particularly easy for them, since French is their first language with Tahitian as a secondary language. We got to learn about topics like the different mou‘a (mountains) like Mou‘a Roa, Mou‘a Puta and Rotui; their competitive canoe paddling, and the variety of things to do on Moorea. Following their presentations were a couple of numbers from the students where they sang and danced in traditional Tahitian fashion. We even got called up to dance with them, which was really fun.
After saying “nana” (goodbye) to the students, we headed to a very special place -- the office/city hall of the mayor of Moorea. Sadly, the Mayor couldnʻt be there, but we were sable to get a tour of the area and all of the departments with his deputies/representatives. Vaiani, our guide, filled our stay with her satisfying humor and deep knowlege of Mo‘oreaʻs government. After the tour, the entire staff sang a song for us and, in return, we sang and danced a few numbers for them. That was the end of our time there, and we left them with our fondest aloha.
We boarded our bus and headed to University of California at Berkely on-island marine biology site named “The Gump Station” where we got to learn the ocean environment and much more. Aunty Hīnano Murphy, who has been studying the ocean for most of her life, taught us about the connections between modern marine science and traditional knowledge. She really believes that the two go hand-in-hand as we use modern technology to discover the minute details, while the tradional knowledge incorporates the ʻhumanityʻ within the studies. She said that traditional knowledge of the ocean requires much more observations of marine life and the connection between the land and ocean. Aunty Hīnano told us of Tahitian legends with the feʻe (“heʻe” in Hawaiian), honu, and moʻo, all of which pertain to the connection between the ocean and the people of the Pacific. Her insights really opened up our eyes to new ways of thinking and trying to preserve the traditional ways of thinking. After saying nana to Aunty Hīnano, we headed back to our hotel and got ready for dinner.
Dinner was not just a normal meal -- it was an all-you-can-eat buffet with traditional Tahitian entertainment at a hotel named Sofitel. We were fortuante enough to dine at this restaraunt and we took great advantage of this opprotunity. We tried new types of food, like fafaru, a delicacy on the island made of fermented fish and an odorous sauce. Our night was topped off with this treat, literally, after which we headed back to our hotel to reflect on our day and realize how much we were able to learn in terms of our cousins in Mo‘orea.
No laila, he mahalo nui kēia i nā manawahine o kēia lā; ke kumu ahonui, nā alakaʻi o ke keʻena ahupuaʻa, a me ʻanakē Hīnano Murphy. Ua aʻo nui ‘ia ka ʻohana Nāhiku a pīhoihoi mākou e kaʻana i ia ʻike kupuna me ʻoukou nā mea heluhelu. E like me ka mau ma kēia huakaʻi, he lā waiwai nō hoʻi kēia. Mahalo no ka heluhelu ‘ana i ia nalu a e hoʻi mai i ka lā ‘āpōpō no nā moʻolelo hou!