“Pili” is hawaiian for “a time of closeness.” This weekend I was lucky to get a chance to participate in the Purple Prize. Much pili was had! Read on to learn what we learned!
We started out at the Lo’i (Hawaiian taro patch) for some service work. I biked to the Lo’i and locked up my bike at 7:20am on Saturday morning. I saw Bruce talking to Forrest on one of the park benches and walked over to say good morning.
We were the first ones there and the coffee had not yet arrived so we sat around on our phones – quick tech warm up before the event started.
I checked “Chess with Friends” and submitted my moves.
As people started arriving the morning air heated up. Once everyone had shown up we gathered in the traditional A-frame house that had been constructed on the Lo’i. I knew we’d be doing some yardwork later in the day so I made sure to post up in strategic positions where I’d be in the shade.
We gathered hands and shouted introductions.
There were about 30-40 people there. Gotta remember this style of introduction: “Who are you? Where are you from? Who are you representing here.”
My turn came and I shouted, “David, Manoa, Hawaii iOS Developer Meetup!”
Everyone clapped and it was on to the next.
I met a guy named Kirk and had a good time sipping my coffee from a paper cup. I learned that Kirk is participating in a Google AdSense competition.
We walked up to where the river had been diverted into a side-stream to water the taro and purify the water. It’s a beautiful system. I wish I had taken more photos, but I’m holding out hope that they’ll be posting videos from the event soon. EDIT: Video posted 🙂
Once we sang a mele (song) about the river and the water, we walked back to the Lo’i and started doing yardwork.
We gathered the fallen mango leaves into large plastic buckets. After about 15 minutes of gathering leaves we dumped them into a fallow taro patch. I was looking forward to this next step all month. Time to hehi hehi (Hawaiian word for the process of stepping the dried leaves into the wet taro patch with our bare feet)!
I was lost in thought stamping the leaves into the mud when, Matt and Raychong from Box Jelly came over to introduce themselves and say hi.
We were right in the middle of talking shop when ‘Imi, the Native Hawaiian Lo’i expert advised us to form a solid line to “comb” the taro patch by walking across together. We did one final walk to push the leaves into the ground.
Our “hehi-hehi-fun over,” I biked home to take a shower. We were to reconvene at Halau I’Nana, the old Napa Auto Parts near Anna O’Brien’s at 10:30am.
They’ve really done a swell job making Halau I’Nana into a solid meeting/events/makerspace. It’s beautiful inside and air-conditioned.
The information sessions started next.
Kelsey set the ground rules for the event and shared the bathroom location. Tom Pena went first. He’s walked the islands and mapped out traditional water-ways. He printed a HUGE map, at least 12ft X 12ft. He took us outside and we all took off our slippers and shoes.
We walked over the map and he pointed out specific points sharing Hawaiian lore and history I’d never heard before – fascinating stuff about constellations, different islands being governed under different systems, and a geographic location in the middle of the island that Tom believes is the main source of all fresh water on the island of Oahu.
We put on our slippers and shoes and went back inside to cool off.
Next, Manulani Meyer, shared insights into indigenous epistemology that give new meanings to ancient Hawaiian myths and language. The combination of Tom’s talk and Manulani resulted in two powerful takeaways to me:
- Water and the way it flows informs time. “Water is the arteries of our lives. Clean water, clean ideas.”
- Cultural approval is often required but no one knows who/how to ask.
Next up, Maya from UHM, shared her program Seeds for Peace and the importance of forming a 360 view on building peace building leaders. The most memorable quote I took away from her talk was when she discussed her talks with Indonesians living in Java, “We live in harmony with the disaster.”
After the talk I thanked her for sharing her story with us. The last presenter discussed the alarming statistic I’m hearing from so many people on the island,
“Did you know that we import 90% of all of the food on the island?! We maybe have a week of food if shipping is halted.”
Next we had a delicious meal of locally prepared poi, salad, stew, beef, and curry. I brought my own wooden plate and pair of chopsticks 🙂
Another thing I wanted to document from this event was a process called smallify. I won’t go through the process here because it’s all spelled out on their website.
Smallify’s the best process I have every gone through in ideation. Here’s an image that details the process:
All in all this was a fantastic opportunity. I’m very thankful that Nohea shared this event with me. Wonderful time!!!
The next step is for people to formally submit their ideas and rally a team around their idea. In 6 months, the judging will take place. I can’t wait to see what people create.
Now if I could only get one of those sweet Purple Mai’a tshirts 🙂
- The price of water sensors has dropped DRAMATICALLY within the past 7 months. So much so, that a sensor that traditionally sells for $20k can now be made for $100! Following up on this lead post-haste.
- You gotta “Hana the Hana!” – this means you gotta work the work. Do the work to get something out of it!
- Everyone wants to help. Just give them an opportunity to help.
- Couldn’t shake the thought, “If the water could talk, what would it say?”
- We want to focus on “Mana-tization” – Kamu
Click on the following link if you’re interested in learning more about the Purple Prize