Last Saturday, as a white man, I went to Maunakea City. A small private company, Mauna Kea Adventures, donated their bus and gas to transport folks from Mooheau, the airport then to Puu Huluhulu. Our driver donated his time. The bus was free.
Upon arrival I was greeted by a cordial man. The info tent, thoughtfully placed next to the off-loading zone, informed me where the port-a-potties, kupuna tent, and the food tent was. Amazed I was to witness such overt graciousness. Small ziggurats of bottled of water were plentiful, a recycling, trash, composting area was environmentally-sensitive.
Volunteers did not want to desecrate the sacred land by dumping brown water in it. It was hauled away. Strangers emerged from the crowd to ask if I needed help throughout the day. Hand-cleaning stations, first aid tents and “drug stores” were obvious. Sun and lip protection, even probiotic capsules, were freely offered. Any article of clothing, any bedding was freely offered. Apparently, sheets, pillows and blankets were donated by a motel in Waimea.
From the kupuna tent I watched the Kamehameha Schools choir perform. Chanting, hula, and conch shells sounding was next. Every movement, all music, each announcement was executed with beauty, integrity and reverence. Fresh coconut water and trays of food were delivered to my chair. I could not attend any of the many classes offered though lots did.
The gathering was not so much about “Don’t Build It” as it was about cooperation, kindness, generosity, and respect and love for the land and each other. Isn’t that how we all want to live?
Gary Harrold is a resident of Hilo.