“Time to Shine” reads a hand-painted sign on the playground walls where 600 children have gathered to meet the Hōkūle‘a crew in Nyanga (apartheid’s dumping ground), Cape Town, South Africa. They send out a cheerful cry when they see that the crew has brought Hawaiian hula dancers-boys in malos and girls in flowered cloth skirts. Working with the Desmond Tutu Legacy Foundation, the crew has been delivering Mālama Honuāinspired lapdesks to these underprivileged children. They have delivered over one thousand so far. Each lapdesk has the alphabet, a math table, and a compass printed on it, along with a world map and the Hōkūle‘a’s route on the Worldwide Voyage. The children are in awe, and sit quietly as Nainoa offers up a quilt made by the children in Hawai‘i…a patchwork of hand-painted drawings of what peace means to each child. The principal says she will hang it in her office, and the children want the singing, drumming and dancing to begin as they are so excited to see dancers of another culture.
“Song has the power to take the heart to another time, and this one clearly does, as the children sit, listening to a Hawaiian drummer drum the dancers in. The African [children sit]…under the shade of a single tree, watching the Hawaiian girls kneel, sway and bow. When it comes time for the African girls to dance, one of them asks if she could use the Hawaiian drum, and she pounds out a fast-paced song. Her friends begin to shake and clap and dance. E ala e! Once they are done, the two groups join together, forming a braid of ubuntu and mālama, united together in dance and song.
“Nainoa is clearly moved. He is not the only one. He leans into a crewmember and whispers, ‘Now I know what world peace looks like.’
“… Time has come to gather in, and make the trek home to rest. You can see the wisdom in the animals, soundlessly congregating, out from where they’ve been all day. Each tribe is so different. Yet all are unified in the same slow, measured, reverant pace.” — Excerpt from Malama Honua, p. 171.
In a country where the people continue to experience the deep wounds of apartheid… here where the oldest culture of Africa meets the youngest culture, Hawai‘i, the desire to unite is the common thread. As I started reading about Nainoa Thompson’s 3-year journey, MāLAMA HONUA: Hōkūle‘a, a Voyage of Hope, I realized how many of our practices and beliefs parallel those of other cultures. Sure, there are differences but those only separate us. What I looked for were the similarities as they say, “Basically we are all the same.” As Nainoa tells it, “When we look for peace, it should be that we’re way more alike than we’re different. And, we need to celebrate that likeness…and it starts here.” — Except from Mālama Honua, p.164
We have the good fortune of having Hawai‘i as our homeland…of being its Indigenous people. I love learning about all kinds of “wisdom” from different cultures and was truly inspired by Mālama Honua. All cultures treasure wisdom and seek to attain that greater inner peace in one’s daily life through its knowledge and practice.
Time to Shine…the Light within. E ala e! One should seek it, awaken it, and arise with greater Enlightenment! Hiding under a bushel in isolation from the world is over…it is now “Time to Shine” as Mālama Honua has taught us on its Voyage of Hope around the World!
Aloha Makahiki Hou!
A hui hou, Trustee ‘Ala (Leina‘ala)