By: Ari Lunow-Luke, Kaikaina Intern
Aloha! My name is Ari and I am currently an alakaʻi intern at Hoʻokuaʻāina. While I am a new addition to the staff here, I have been coming to volunteer at Kapalai on and off for the past eight years. Despite an ongoing global pandemic and my decision to attend college all the way across the continental United States, I continued to return to Kapalai any chance I got.
Born and raised in Kailua, this place has always represented the abundance that my home ahupuaʻa could and should hold; an image of what Kailua could and should look like. To me, Kapalai is a place to return to: a safe gathering space, a welcoming community, and a way to imagine more abundant futures for Hawaiʻi.
Although the crew might be different now, I can definitively say that the sense of aloha I have always felt here, and the people this place seems to attract, remains the same. From Kazu and Kaulana always serenading us in the patch with their loʻi remixes, to Becca’s lively British accent, to Benji sharing his daily snacks, the community here is as comforting as always. Whenever we hoʻolauna, introduce ourselves as a staff and share our “why” for being here, we all tell different stories but share one commonality: we continue to return to Kapalai, continue to care for it, continue to show aloha for it, because it is our collective home.
Just like the process of hehi, stomping, and turning over the lepo to prepare a patch for the next cycle of growth, this new year brings with it new nutrients and abundance; excitement for what’s to come. As a staff, we are stoked for the new year, ready for whatever it brings, and confident in the resiliency of our community here. Because no matter what is thrown our way, we will continue to return, continue to steward and continue to aloha this place.