Regular readers may recall with some sadness the recent arson that destroyed the hale at Hoa ‘Aina O Makaha, the Waianae organic farm and community center which serves students and visitors from the area and from around the island every day. Sadly, March’s blaze was not only not the first for the hard-scrabble organization—it was the third such incident in as many years. Last week, Hoa ‘Aina O Makaha Executive Director Gigi Coquio wrote in to describe the community’s response.
“The children of Makaha Elementary School who use the Hale everyday at the farm, came to witness the destruction. They were angry, they cried and they were the ones who decided that we needed to rebuild. Many other people from our community came. Support started to pour in as financial support and moral support. We requested especially the moral support because we believe that we needed to strengthen our faith in the people, in our community and to pick up the children’s challenge to rebuild.
The Hale is not just a structure to remind us of the old days, it is a symbol of hope, a refuge, a place to celebrate, to meet and learn from each other.”
We’re happy to report that in conjunction with Saturday’s annual farm open house, Hoa ‘Aina O Makaha will be rededicating its new hale, which is being rebuilt this week, one leaf-tie at a time. Coquio writes:
“Each leaf is a thank you for the support, for the spirit of friendship and love from many people. While we tie each leaf, one by one we are reminded that to destroy it takes only few minutes, to rebuild it takes patience, a lot of time and plenty love. While we tie these leaves and pull the string it feels like we are creating a personal relationship with the hale because the spirit of those who came and sit under her is still there and makes this place special.”
And speaking of second chances: talk around the Capitol is that Sen. Brian Taniguchi, the erstwhile champion of civil unions who turned his back when larger forces intervened, is having second thoughts. Or is it third thoughts? When you’re talking about elected officials it’s hard to keep track. In any case, supporters believe there may still be hope to get a civil unions bill to Gov. Linda Lingle’s desk before the session is out, but time is of the essence. The deadline for Taniguchi to ask Senate President Colleen Hanabusa for a waiver or a second recall hearing to pull the vote from committee is this Friday.
If you’re a supporter of equal legal status for gay and lesbian families and you haven’t yet made your voice heard, now is the time.