Crew Blog | Kekama Helm: Fruits of Labor; A Labor of Love

Kekama modeling for Kealopiko
Crew blog by Kekama Helm

As the anchor set and we turn to shore, we see small ATVs coming down a steep valley road. Minutes later we are greeted with the sounds of aloha, “Welcome to our island home of Pitcairn!” About fifteen people come to meet us at the pier, a little less than half of the population. We are greeted with sincere smiles and leis. After the formalities of customs, we are taken to the town square. Some of us rode on a tractor with a make shift buggy in the back. Pitcairn’s very own mode of public transportation. Laughter and smiles began to ring off of the walls of this island no bigger than the ahupua‘a of Kalama‘ula, my Moloka‘i home.

Life is simple here. With one call over the VHF radio where folks monitor throughout the island, the local store was graciously opened for us and the people came to the square with hand made crafts. In a matter of minutes, it was like we were at the Saturday market in Kaunakakai. After an hour or so we all sat together in a small circle to wala‘au and kukakuka about their home and about the waʻa. As we were taken aback by their generosity, they were also happy to have us there. A young man said, “We have a lot of visitors that come by cruise ship, but very few Polynesians ever come to visit. Its not often we have family over!”

You could see the pride in the people of this island. Proud of who they are and the way they are able to survive on such a tiny island. Shipments only come quarterly, so most of their food and wares are made and fixed by the people of Pitcairn. They work hard and make due. Life on the island is truly one of ‘ohana and community. They take care of each other.

After a quick hour tour of the island it was time for us to say a hui hou. As we were taken to the pier I was almost brought to tears with their gifts of aloha. The tiny pier was filled with fruits and veggies. From gourds of watermelons, to papayas as big as a football, bananas by the bunches and some of the sweetest liliko‘i I’ve ever tasted, all given with the sincerity of true Polynesian hospitality. In our world of constant struggle to get somewhere, we are some times humbled by the simplest acts of kindness. We are reminded that people are the most precious resource.

The people of Pitcairn Island have been able to live that way for over a hundred years and hopefully they can live their lifestyle for generations to come. As we head home to Hawai‘i, I think of my small island of Moloka‘i and the lifestyle that we live. It’s my dream that we too can continue to live this way and perhaps we can be the trend of Mālama Honua for all to strive for. I hope that visitors who come to our beautiful shores recognize our people for their choices to be small, self-sufficient and viable.

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