‘Aha Kai Aloha: Bringing Hope to Our People From the Mountain to the Sea
Under a double rainbow, bright with hope, Living Life Source Foundation filled the beach at Waikīkī with light and love as its 1st Annual ‘Aha Kai Aloha Cultural and Surfing event made its mark on O‘ahuʻs south shore landmark, Kuhio Beach. The event carried great intent in its initial presence there: to bring awareness to and on behalf of hundreds of homeless youth currently living on the streets of Waikīkī and further, to contribute to the revitalization of the Hawaiian cultural tradition of surfing on alaia surfboards. All in all, event host, Living Life Source Foundation, wanted to fill Hawai‘iʻs premiere beach area with the spirit that makes Hawai`i so unique Aloha, and THAT, we did!
The gifts from the heavens were exactly the blessings needed for the event which originates in the uplands of the Waikīkī ahupua‘a it shares with Mānoa Valley. There, on three acres of land near Waiakeakua Stream, and also ¼-mile from LLSFʻs main office on 5 acres of land, Living Life Source Foundation is privileged to steward these areas, wherein we are clearing the land of invasive, non-native species, such as, the albizia trees, and intending to plant legacy hardwoods and canoe / food / medicinal / hula plants, shrubs, and trees. There are wonderful learning opportunities in the clearing of land and in the planting thereafter. There is also great learning in crafting canoe and surfboards, in picking and preparing food plants for consumption, and in preparing medicine for use. All of these activities are different phases of the project culminating in events like ‘Aha Kai Aloha. Keep an eye and ear out for next yearʻs ‘Aha ‘Āina Aloha too!
For over 600 participants who joined us on September 6th, ‘Aha Kai Aloha offered a wonderful mix of culture and competition, education and entertainment, food, and fun. Over 100 youth and adults competed in the surf event and were gifted or awarded awesome prizes donated by Quicksilver, Billabong, Maui Jimʻs, Surf Garage. Lauryn Chin for the pi collection, and Volcom, to name a few. Cultural masters, such as Calvin Hoe and Umi Kai, spent the entire day with us sharing their knowledge and expertise about Hawaiian artifacts, weaving, and ways of knowing. World-reknown surfers, Reno Abellira and ___ reminisced about their experiences and shared tips of the trade with youth, community members, and visitors about Hawai`iʻs first love in water sports: surfing.
Healthy breakfast and lunch fare was generously provided by Hablitat through the coordination of Bruce Watanabe, the kind heart behind The Catering Connection. Over 400 breakfasts and lunches were shared with those who could pull themselves away from the beautiful blue of the waves and the cool of the water that day to partake of the mea‘ai onoloa (delicious food).
Anyone within earshot distance from Kuhio, Queenʻs, and Baby Queenʻs were captivated by several of Hawai`iʻs finest recording artists and musicians who gave of their time and talent for the keiki and the culture. All of them were sandwiched between two wonderful groups of children – the first, opening the festivities, Halau Ke Kia‘i o Ka Lamaku, Kumu Hula Kawika Mersberg, and the last, rounding out the day with amazing young talent, the Lyman ‘Ohana, lineage of Aunty Genoa Keawe, comprised of her granddaughter, Pomaika‘i Lyman, and her children. Both groups captured the hearts of everyone on the beach and kept us chanting “Hana Hou” for several minutes after their last performance. Truly marks of the hope of and for up-and-coming generations!
Besides these young “rockstars,” everyone was tantalized by the music stylings of Lehua Kalima and Shawn Pimental, Ho‘ohihi (Kama Hopkins, Nick Masagatani, and Po‘okela Wood), Kali and Kuki Navales from Kumuola, Rebecca Beralas and Friends, Andy Sexton, Phillip Akau, and Dean Lum, and Rockwell Fukino, who was gracious to donate the use of his sound equipment and expertise as a sound engineer for the event.
LLSF is grateful to several individuals and organizations for working together with us to put the event on:
- Kaela Akina-Magnussen and Kanani DʻAngelo, two teens, who stepped up and took the responsibilities of Junior Event Coordinators, did a phenomenal job setting precedence for those who take on their kuleana in the future. What better way to give an example of “You Can Do It!” LLSF is so proud of the wonderful work these two young ladies did on behalf of those less fortunate than they.
- Carla Houser, YO! – Youth Outreach based at Waikīkī Health Center, for the work being done by her organization on behalf of homeless youth and their families in Waikīkī.
- Dr. Kevin Fujimoto, Surfrider Spirit Sessions, for being involved in coordination meetings and for bringing an amazing group of youth down to the beach to join in on the event and help out.
- Rudy Huebner of Rudyland Graphics, for a great website and graphic ideas for banners and marketing materials.
- Daniel Ito for Waiola Coconut Water, and the wonderful people at Sustainable Coastlines for setting up booths and sharing product and great presence.
NOTE: If you are interested in helping Living Life Source Foundation with its next ‘Aha Aloha event, please contact the main office at 988.1281 and let us know. Mahalo nui loa!