This month marks the 12-year anniversary of Maui Cultural Lands (MCL), a nonprofit group that leads weekly volunteer trips to Honokowai Valley and other project sites in West Maui in an effort to preserve and restore Hawaiian cultural resources.
To celebrate MCL, the areas it protects and the spirit of volunteerism on which the organization is based, join them on Saturday, Feb. 8, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Honokowai Valley.
Lahaina News writer Louise Rockett has been going into the valley off and on for at least a dozen years, starting in the day when Uncle Ed Lindsey and Rene Silva led the corps of volunteers.
"I watched Ekolu Lindsey take over the reins of leadership from Uncle Ed after he passed, and he didn't skip a beat," she said.
"The Lindsey family, Maui Cultural Lands, has a uncanny sense of kuleana and a powerful vision. Their willingness to share goes beyond asking others for help in their journey to restore the valley - it appears to be part of their genetic makeup."
Joining the Lindseys on weekly service trips to Honokowai Valley are volunteers of every persuasion: young and old, malihini and kama'aina.
It's a grassroots way to immerse yourself in the native culture.
"The expedition is like no other... walking along the winding path to the valley floor, imagining how it looked when it was the breadbasket of the island, seeing the rock walls that have been standing for over 800 years, is to experience the miracle and the legacy of Maui Cultural Lands and the Lindsey 'Ohana," Rockett commented.
Go along on Saturday and see for yourself. The group will meet at the Pu'ukoli'i Sugar Cane Train Station parking lot at 9 a.m. Expect to plant native seedlings, weed non-native plants and dig a hole or two. A complimentary picnic lunch will be provided by No Ka Oi Deli, so no need to pack a lunch; bring a hat and gloves, though.
For more information, or to sign up, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (808) 587-7741.
You may end up joining MCL's ranks of dedicated volunteers.
"It's like stepping into the past. When Aunty Puanani chants, the spirits from the valley rise up to join and welcome her, and maybe Uncle Ed is one of those spirits. It's a feeling like no other - chicken skin for sure," Rockett concluded.