I’m Such A Wuss

Monday Musings by Melinda M.

I’m such a wuss. Doing things like beach clean ups or other kinds of “work days” is not something I look to do as a general rule. I’m just so out of shape and hate to be reminded that I’m out of shape and rather than get in shape, I just avoid things where I need to be in shape. It’s a vicious cycle really.

And yet, I work for a conservation organization. I work INSIDE for a conservation organization, of course, behind a computer where there is no need for sunscreen and no reason for physically sweating. But to do my desk job well, I do need to get out in nature – which I LOVE to do, don’t get me wrong – I love hiking, snorkeling, and just being in it.

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My idea of being out in nature!

So this past Saturday, I finally made the trek over to Kiholo, just south of Waikoloa, to join 20 volunteers, many of whom have been doing this every month for the past five years. The task was to help restore the ancient fishponds that once provided fish for King Kamehameha and are an important connector between land and sea. The trek from Hilo, by the way, is no longer a trek thanks to the new Saddle Road — it took me only an hour and 15 minutes! Even still, I arrived a little late. Typical.

img_1301.jpgAfter gathering in a circle and giving an opening chant (chicken skin!), we introduced ourselves by name and place of origin and then were told what jobs there were to do. We were encouraged to take lots of breaks, drink lots of water, move around from job to job and pick a task that suited our capabilities. I decided to play with rocks. I was given a 5-gallon bucket and collected rocks out of the dirt to be spread at the base of a new storage container they had gotten. There were about 10 of us who selected this and a related task and even though I felt like I had contributed so little, everybody’s “little” really did add up to something, literally demonstrating that many hands make light work.

The volunteer work day is on the 3rd Saturday of every month from 9-1 but the actual work is really from 10-12. A potluck lunch starts at 12:30ish and is followed by a talk story by someone with a long history at Kiholo. Sitting around in that circle, sharing lunch and learning from someone who is deeply connected to that land, you can feel community rising up in your bones. It’s a special feeling, that feeling of connected-ness, and worth overcoming any fears of being a wuss to experience.

To stay informed about upcoming opportunities to help Kiholo, follow @huialohakiholo or @nature_hi.

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