West Hawaii Graduation

 

This is the largest graduating class I’ve seen since I started teaching at the West Campus of the Hawai`i Community College. When the economy is down, and people are losing jobs, or wanting to improve their chances of being hired, the return to college is inevitable. All the classes seem to be flooded with new students. What a joy it is to be their instructor!

The lineup above shows all the dignitaries in full regalia, waiting for the graduates to come down the aisle. Here is a behind the scenes look at a few of them getting ready.

 

Leis are all laid out in preparation. The purple ones on the left were given to each graduate as they walked off the stage in addition to a purple orchid lei. The other leis spread out on the table were given to the school officials and speakers.

 

I got there early enough to watch the rehearsal.

 

Everyone was robed at last and ready for the ceremonies to begin. So many of my own students were either graduating or helping out in some way.

 

For many of these students, they were the first ones in their family to go to college. It was a struggle for them to be there. The gold stoles, cords and tassels signified that these people were honor students.

 

At last, everyone was lined up and the processional began. The stage group went in first, then the faculty. Since I was part of the faculty group, I was able to get a couple shots of them processing in. It was standing room only, with everyone trying to get the best shots of their family member.

 

One student in particular had been in quite a few of my classes. She was the student speaker for the event. Here she is in her various roles. First, as she finished rehearsing, then dressed ready to process in, giving the speech, getting her diploma and walking off the stage. Her array of leis was an example of how all the students looked at the end of the evening. Some had on so many leis they couldn’t breathe or see where they were going.

 

I tried to get all the graduates who had been in my classes, but my battery gave out too quickly. It’s almost as emotional for those of us who teach as for those who graduate.

 

 

The graduates of 2010 accepted more leis as they greeted family and friends afterward.

Congratulations to all those who graduated!

Road Sights

 

The theme for NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) is “looking.” So I am always on the lookout for sights along our Hawaii roads that might not be typical in other parts of the world. The sight above is fairly normal on the Big Island – driving into the vog, sulfuric air resulting from our volcano.

As we drive into the area of Kilauea, the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, you can see the steam vents alongside the road.

 

Then take a look at this load of outriggers I was following not long ago. I think this is what they call a “wide load!”

 

A hui hou!

Pearl Harbor Museum

 

One of the major attractions on Oahu is the exhibit at Pearl Harbor. Today is not the day we normally remember that occasion, yet I want to show you a few of the things you’ll see at the museum there.

There isn’t much more I can say about this. Anyone who was alive around that time will know what these photos represent. Enjoy the slide show.

http://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/bin/slideshow.swf

If you want to see it in a larger form, please click here.


A hui hou!

Banyan Trees

 

Don’t you just love the old banyan trees lining Banyan Drive that circles a small peninsula extending out into Hilo Bay? The banyans there were planted as saplings by celebrities a mere 75 years ago. A plaque by each tree tells who planted it and when.

The banyan is actually a fig, a member of the ficus family. What we see are aerial prop roots that surround the actual trunk, making it spread out and look many times larger. The largest of this species is in India, but another one was planted in 1873 in Lahaina on Maui, and now covers almost an acre. The link above shows a picture of that particular one. Scroll down until you see it on the right.

I took the photo above one afternoon when I stopped at the beach park in Hilo to take a nap in my car. The cool shade and sea breeze made for perfect snoozing!

A hui hou!

Ka’u Coffee Festival

 

Right away, I headed for the food booths. I know how delicious Pahala foods can be! The 4-H booth served beef plate lunches from home-grown beef.

 

Typical local-style plate lunch is a meat, “two scoop” rice, and macaroni salad.

 

Dane and Terri Shibuya are good friends. Dane is the Community Policeman for Ka’u District. They are also owners and operators of Masazo’s Pig Farm.

 

Their oldest daughter was missing in this Shibuya family photo, because she is on the mainland working on a graduate degree. Their daughter Brandi was First Princess of the Ka’u Coffee Festival.

 

After a huge plate lunch, it’s time for dessert!

 

Is that a “shave ice” he has?

 

Honu`apo, a local beach also known by some as Whittington Beach, had their own booth . . .

 

. . . and the women working the booth showed off their beautiful shirts. The profits go to return the beach to its original state.

 

New plans are underway to continue renovation of Honu`apo. For a previous post about Honu`apo, click here.

 

There will be a special ho`olaule`a (festival) on Labor Day Weekend, 2010 at Honu`apo to celebrate. Watch for more information.

The Coffee Festival brought out folks from all over the island, and probably elsewhere.

 

Inside the exhibit hall . . .

 

. . . various coffee growers had their coffees on display and available for tasting.

 

There were also displays of foods by local culinary students and chefs.

 

Be sure to look at the slideshow at the end to see each of these individually, and read the names of the dishes. It’s too bad they weren’t available for tasting! I’d love to have some of these recipes.

 

Other booths featured crafts, some decorated with traditional Hawai`ian designs . . .

 

. . . and various items made from coffee bags. Ka’u coffee is quickly taking over the Kona monopoly in flavor. If you get a chance, be sure to try some.

 

I had a chance to visit with my friend, Kazu, who caught me up on various other people who had been members of my church there in Pahala.

 

There were “choke” (plenty) food booths. You can tell the people of Ka’u love to eat!

 

Anywhere else, we might call it all “ethnic foods,” but here it’s just “local.”

 

Here is a luscious display of local Ka’u produce. The weekly farmers’ market is usually loaded with wonderful fruits and veggies, homemade breads and more.

 

No gathering in Hawai`i is quite complete without a good local band.

 

Pahala is a small sugar plantation village. When I moved there in early 1996, the plantation had been closed less than two years. They seem to have rallied over the years. If you are driving around the Big Island, be sure to stop and visit this historical spot.

 

To see individual pictures of all these photos, view this slideshow.

http://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/bin/slideshow.swf

 

Click here for a larger view of the slideshow. You will be rewarded!

A hui hou!

Lei Making

 

Instead of always looking up, sometimes it’s fun to look down, especially when you are looking down on a group of people making ti leaf leis.

May Day in Hawai`i is also known as Lei Day. Making and wearing a lei is such a soft, gentle, and loving way to honor someone.

In order to make the leis from ti leaves, you need to press with a warm iron to soften them. Then using your big toe as a holder, you begin twisting and pulling on the leaf. With each leaf, as you add a new leaf, you can leave a little point sticking out as you twist.

When everything is long enough, twist the ends together to form a circle. Tuck a few flowers into the twisting ti leaves and place it around someone’s neck with a kiss on the cheek.

Traditionally, ti plants are placed around a home to bring good luck.

A hui hou!