Sunday, March 30, 2014

Hoʻōla: Annual Concert to Benefit Hawaiian Language Education in Waimea

students/teachers from the first class (1995) with students/teachers from the current class (2014)

Yesterday was our biggest annual fundraiser, Hoʻōla! Its a free community event with music, entertainment, silent auction, lucky number drawings, kids games, food, crafts...this year there was even a petting zoo! We really pull out all the stops to make sure this is both high-quality and completely accessible. Its a lot of work to organize, but totally worth it in the end. We always have fun and I always make off with some crazy deal on a date-night activity via the silent auction.

For me, one of the best parts of Hoʻōla is meeting other people who are interested in Hawaiian language. Because Alo Kēhau is a small school in a somewhat rural town, it can start to feel like living in a bubble. Events like these effectively pop that bubble by showing how many people care about Hawaiian and enjoy speaking or even just hearing it. Although I admit that I still struggle in making an effort to speak it when its not absolutely necessary (English is just infinitely easier).

I might not have said more than two Hawaiian words all day yesterday...
oh God, that is kind of embarrassing.

our local treasure, Kuʻulei on the left, Kaimana on the right

Kaimama, host of the weekly Hawaiian language radio show Alana i Kai Hikinia on KWXX, very graciously co-emceed Hoʻōla. When I mentioned that I enjoy his program he laughed and joked "its nice to know we have a listener". Maybe I'm not the only one who feels isolated. And maybe its not so much about the size of the platform or the breadth of exposure. Its important to see and hear the language being used in unfamiliar or unexpected places and people. I think it quietly reminds us that we aren't alone in our efforts.

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