Behold, this week’s schedule — as expressed in poster form by PWO navigator and master organizer Kalepa Baybayan:
I get tired just looking at it. In port, Polynesian Voyaging Society canoe crews pack two full days into a single day. When they’re sailing, it’s more like three days in a single day.
And despite Baybayan’s organizing prowess … he’s dealing with 17 people crammed into a chaotic hotel, so in the end this all amounts to herding cats.
You might notice there’s a heck of a lot of school presentations on those posters. I tagged along with this morning’s visits to Fa’asao Marist High School and Lupelele Elementary School. The sessions involved more than 300 kids, and they all went surprisingly well.
The kids were excited to meet the Hokule’a and Hikianalia crews. They sang, they clapped, they laughed at our jokes. They listened intently to presentations about PVS’ history and its Malama Honua voyage. They were glued to the Oiwi TV-produced short video of life on the canoe during the Tahiti: “Mele No Hikianalia.” At Fa’asao, many of the students whipped out phones afterwards to snap photos with individual crew members. And at Lupelele, the kids lined up to offer handshakes and hugs. You could tell this was a special event for them.
University of Hawaii Associate Professor of Mathematics Education Linda Furuto played a big role in these sessions — and you could tell she’s looking to plants seeds in these kids’ heads about their identity and pride in being Pacific Islanders. At several points, Furuto, who’s also an apprentice navigator, had the Lupulele 8th graders repeat after her:
“Our islands are unique, special and the best part of earth.”
“Be proud of who we are, and where we came from.”
Some of the kids are scheduled to come tour the wa’a in several days’ time. Here’s Furuto teaching some other kids during a Hokule’a open house in Pago Pago Harbor this past Saturday about how traditional way finding navigation works: