“You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself. ” Nelson Mandela
My father, Kawika Yahiro, inspires me to serve others through the work that he does with communities across the islands. My 5 year old daughter has visited Maunalei Valley on Lana’i with my father and would not stop talking about it! Even when we had taken her all the way to Disneyland and San Fransisco- when asked how her summer was she would always bring up her sweet potato plant that she got to plant on Lana’i! I then begged…no forced my father to take me so that I could experience Maunalei for myself.
We first flew to Mau’i and then caught a ferry over to Lana’i.
The harbor area where we took the ferry to Lana’i is nostalgic of Lahaina’s whaling years. I could vividly picture my great-great-grandfather hopping off of the whaling ship that he was hiding on as a stow-away.
The ride across the channel was beautiful and awe inspiring. It is rare to actually open your view of the place that you were just at and embrace the entire landscape. It is humbling to take a step back and see how small our lives are in the bigger picture of things…
So began our journey to Maunalei. Once we arrived in Lana’i we took a very short ride to the heart of Lana’i City and met some of the youth involved in the restoration of the valley.
The next day we began the adventure of heading into Maunalei Valley with Uncle Kawehi and Aunty Debbie Ryder. Uncle Kawehi is a Hawaiian treasure in every way! He seemed to be an endless encyclopedia of hawaiian culture, plants, and agriculture. He shared the history of the valley and how the water was diverted to Lana’i City until the dike was depleted. Below are a few pictures that do little justice to the beauty of this area. Restoration is a primary goal for the non-profit organization which the Ryders are apart of and I hope to share this endeavor with others.