The Call to the Hawaiian Language
I fell in love with the music ofKeali`i Reichel's CD, "Kawaipunahele".
The sacredipu (gourd) had been thumped for ears that hear, churning and bringing up long-buried connections to the fore. Resonating deeply within, Kawaipunahele's music and chant created an unexpected, powerful urge to connect with my Hawaiian cultural heritage.
I was being called home to Hawai`i.
I went home. I was then called to the language three times.
Within months of the first call, my husband and I were immersed in the Hawaiian language on the island of Moloka`i. Later that year, we enrolled in Hawaiian language classes at the University of Hawai`i, Mânoa. This site,http://hawaiianlanguage.com was launched soon thereafter.
Thrice, I heard the rousing call from unseen kupûna (elders/ancestors) to help build the bridge that links our past, present and future generations.
Ka Hea Ho`okahi:
The first time, nâ kupûna (elders, ancestors) called me back to the islands, under clever guises of serendipity and synchronicity.
[Voice of An Angel, excerpts from my journal, describes that pivotal weekend.]
Under a balmy, star-strewn Hawaiian sky, I had barely discerned the first call inKeali`i Reichel's concert greetings and invitation to learn the Hawaiian language.
"Pehea `oe `ike `ai i ka loina o kô mâkou kûpuna?"
"How will you know the culture of our ancestors?"
When it became obvious that I was being inwardly exhorted to learn ka loina (the culture) and learn it well, I quickly refused its heeding.
"No way," I replied. "I have no time. My work is demanding; my energy, finite. And besides, what for?"
Ka Hea `Elua:The Second Call:
The second time,next to a bay famous for its bridge of orange-gold and under a fog-shrouded, bone-chilling sky, I was called again.
In reply, I stammered back to the unseen callers, "I'm just too far away, too removed. Look where I am! I'm on the mainland. There are many others who are far more capable over there. Again, I ask: for what purpose?"
Ka Hea `Ekolu:The Third Call:
The third call came under a sweltering, desert sky, galvanized by three touches of a gentlewoman, who shared her sparkling spirit with me. She had moved toMaui, she said, where she felt closer to Heaven. Although we had just met, she held my hand at our first meeting in a sisterly way, then twice again, over the course of the weekend.
Only much later was it apparent that she was the bridge that united members of the `ohana (family), once far-flung in time and space. Within 48 hours and over 2500 miles away from her beloved Maui, she had neatly tied together the heartstrings of disparate spirits, and completed another of her earthly missions.
A few short months later, she transitioned into spirit and flew straight to Heaven.
Our second night in the desert, I heard the third call and I replied:
"I don't know why me.
Yes. I will reach back to the past,
I will contribute to the life of the `ôlelo,
For the `ohana: past, present and future."
The next morning, my husband and I checked out of apyramid in a surreal desert playground. We stopped by a record store to be wowed one more time before we hit the road home.
As we sipped our morning brew,Puakea Nogelmeier, UH Mânoa professor, Hawaiian language expert, and haku mele (composer) pulled up a chair with a steaming cup of coffee in hand. Both academicians with summers off, my husband and Puakea chatted about their impending summer plans.
Puakea said he was in the midst of organizing a week of Hawaiian language immersion onMoloka`i for working adults.
My husband and I looked at each other with the same thought, "We're working adults!"
Impulsively, we asked, "May we sign up? "
We became his first signees.
In time, it became apparent that we had been called to purposefully share this beautiful language as a gift to you -- and all Hawaiians and Hawaiians-at-heart in the world -- via this incredible bridge of communication, the Internet.
E ô!We have responded.
Aloha a hui hou,Aunty D
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