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Community Leaders Forge Connections: “We Can Do It If We Work Together”

On December 29, 2019 leaders from Pu‘uhonua O Wai‘anae, Ka Po‘e O Kaka‘ako and the Waimānalo Beach Park Community gathered with Hui Aloha at Chozen-ji, International Zen Dojo of Hawai‘i, to reconnect and energize for the coming year. Twinkle Borge, leader of Pu‘uhonua o Wai‘anae welcomed everyone with a message on how to stand strong and stay grounded even when arrows are coming at you. She ended her welcome with the message “We are the answer. We can do it if we work together.”

Next, Norma Wong led the group in an exercise where every single person got to share their appreciation for everyone else in the circle. She also added a heartfelt welcome to all and spoke about the lessons that Hawai‘i's 'āina provide each of us, and how so many of our community leaders themselves are Kanaka ʻŌiwi to Hawai‘i. It was emotionally powerful and ultimately refreshing for everyone. After some breathing exercises, a short meditation, and a chance for the group to learn and chant E Hō Mai together, we enjoyed a festive lunch together outside on the Dojo engawa (lānai).

We then spent some time doing some design work for Pu‘uhonua O Wai‘anae’s new village (see  above). This was also a chance for the other communities to get inspired by seeing POW’s vision, and to imagine what could be possible in their neighborhoods. 

After a stretch of outside work including splitting wood, weeding, and cleaning the grounds, we gathered again in the Dojo for final thoughts from Twinkle Borge and the rest of the group. The conversation was inspiring and far reaching. Everyone recognized that 2020 was going to be busy and that we all need to support each other. One of the comments from Aunty Vaina at the end was that we should keep growing this circle and continuing to get together and check in on each other. We’re looking forward to more gatherings like this in 2020 and beyond.

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