Blue'Aina with Lehualani Center & the Kimokeo Foundation
Our March Blue‘Aina cleanup began with some unfortunate stormy weather that threatened to affix a raincloud over our day, but even that turned out to be no match for our volunteers’ outpouring of Aloha spirit! Sponsored by non-profit Lehualani Center, who donated a generous $1,000 to the non-profit Kimokeo Foundation, our trip began with a rocky start. Winter showed its cool temperatures and unpredictable nature, meeting us with a sudden heavy rainstorm and very large swell on our initial sail up the Ka‘anapali coastline to Cliff House.
With our parade literally rained on and unsure of our next move, the catamaran did a quick about-face and headed back toward Mala wharf in Lahaina. Along the way, we were grateful for some humpback whale friends who put on a fantastic show for us, successfully brightening our (slightly disappointed) spirits!
Back at Mala Wharf after only a brief 20 minute sail, the sun had miraculously come out, the wind had ceased, and the beautiful clear ocean water awaited us. We were all elated! Mala Wharf is one of our favorite spots for Blue‘Aina cleanups because of the handfuls of fishing line and other debris that we end up finding there. Once a fully functioning pier and shipping facility for the island's pineapple and agricultural exports, the dock at the wharf was destroyed in 1992 in a hurricane. The old dock pieces now lie along the ocean floor and serve as a beautiful artificial reef, full of tropical marine life.
With the sun finally shining down on us, our 56 volunteers eagerly jumped in the water and set out on the not-so-glamorous hunt for trash. It didn’t take long before they uncovered multiple pieces of rebar – a reinforcing steel used as a tension device in concrete – and our volunteers proudly hauled their spoils from the ocean floor. After a bit of snorkeling and a delicious lunch provided by Trilogy Excursions, we settled in, eager to learn from our sponsor, the Lehualani Center and the non-profit recipient, the Kimokeo Foundation.
The Lehualani Center offers a strong non-profit mission, focused on keeping traditional Hawaiian values alive through a genuine understanding of oneself. They also provide an outstanding range of therapy, counseling, retreats and rehabilitation services to the whole Maui community. In the words of their founder, Dr. Sarah Williams, “This center is founded on Hawaiian cultural values. In the spirit of its name, ‘heavenly’ flower, it is a place where our authentic selves can blossom. With an emphasis on play therapy, Lehualani Center is a safe place for adults, children, families, and communities to grow.” With this inspirational outlook in mind, our cleanup day truly embodied this genuine expression of Hawaiian Culture and sharing the spirit of Aloha.
Similar to the Lehualani Center, the Kimokeo Foundation promotes a mission supporting the lasting legacy of preserving and perpetuating our native Hawaiian culture, language, people, and environment. Founded in 2015 by Kimokeo himself, the foundation is centered around his love for the people and culture of Hawaii, and for the land and sea that surrounds his island home of Maui. One of the foundation’s current projects partners with the Hawaiian Immersion Preschool, Pūnana Leo o Maui, and their non-profit organization, Nā Leo Pūlama o Maui, to assist them in fulfilling their dream of building a new preschool. To learn more about Kimokeo’s efforts in the community, check out the foundation's website!
Capping off an amazing afternoon, our volunteers were also treated to the enchanting voice of Anthony, one of the Maui volunteers who recently traveled to Florida to present the Lei of Aloha to the victims of the Florida school shooting. The self-written song was performed by Anthony in Florida during the presentation of the lei itself.
The real meaning of aloha is the embodiment of love, affection, and a mutual respect for ourselves and one another, and still stands today as a pillar of the Hawaiian culture. We were so humbled and overjoyed to see this true spirit of aloha overflowing on our March Blue‘Aina trip!
Mahalo nui loa to everyone for your continued support of Blue‘Aina and our cause! We hope to see you out with us soon! Follow us on Instagram @blueainamaui