Napili Kai Foundation keiki travel to the U.S. Mainland
NAPILI – A group of 24 keiki, kumus, musicians and directors/chaperones of the Napili Kai Foundation returned from the Mainland on Sept. 24, having spent 11 unforgettable days performing, touring, swimming, shopping and even harvesting grapes in Napa, California and Carson City, Nevada.
They were hosted by a Maui-loving family in a beautiful, sprawling home that included a large backyard with a swimming pool and a private vineyard.
As luck would have it, the first Sunday of the visit coincided with the one day a year the grapes are harvested, so at dawn, the 13 keiki whose ages ranged from 10-17 were handed knives with a short curved blade and given the opportunity to harvest the heavy clusters that would eventually become the hosts’ private reserve of Pinot Noir wine. The adults got to taste and enjoy the product of the host’s prior years’ harvests and declared it most excellent, perfect and delicious.
The keiki performed two consecutive days at the Napa Valley Aloha Festival. Their impressive performance was captured in a picture on the front page of the local newspaper.
Daily outings included tours of Sonoma State University one day and the Capitol and Old Sacramento another day.
They enjoyed the Imaginarium on Pier 15 in San Francisco, as well as the classic clam chowder in a bowl of French bread on Pier 39 on yet another outing.
They were hosted to dinners at Picante, a Mexican restaurant in San Rafael, and an oriental dinner at Napa Noodles that included a mini-performance in the courtyard.
Among the crowd attracted by the performance was the mayor of Napa!
On the way to spending two nights in Carson City, there was a picnic on the shores of Lake Tahoe, where would-be swimmers were soon discouraged by the temperature of the water and chose instead to share their lunches with a big group of squirrels that seemed to have been waiting for them.
In Carson City, they were hosted by the Northern Nevada Hui Association at a ho’olaule’a in the Fuji Park Pavillion that included delicious Hawaiian food.
The main feature was the Napili Kai Foundation keiki’s performance! It was attended by many expats and Hawaiians at heart.
Of the two dinners enjoyed in Carson City, the keiki found it hard to decide if they preferred the Rum Jungle buffet dinner in the Fandango Casino or the eagerly anticipated hamburgers from In-N-Out Burger on the final night!
The Napili Kai Foundation and its supporters consider these trips to be an essential part of the rounded education that the keiki receive in addition to learning about the culture of Hawaii.
It strives to offer them to its keiki members every two to three years. For this trip, the keiki missed a few days of school, but time was allotted so they could keep up with their homework.
They were also instructed to journalize their experiences so that in the future, they can read them and reminisce and perhaps realize how the trip enriched their education and their lives!
A big mahalo and aloha to the many donors who made the trip possible, including the fundraising efforts of the Napili Kai Foundation Parents’ Hui and their contributors, and to the hosts on the Mainland!
The foundation is a 52-year-old nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve the culture of Hawaii through the children of Maui.
Its keiki members, girls and boys, can join at the age of five and must graduate at the age of 18 (or high school graduation, if it comes sooner). They must commit to receive instruction once a week and, once trained, to perform on Tuesdays at the Napili Kai Beach Resort in order to help raise the necessary funds.
Membership, education and costumes are all supplied free of charge to the members, and scholarships towards a higher education are available upon graduation. For more information, access the website “http://www.napilikaifoundation.org”>www.napilikaifoundation.org.