For our main volunteer event in July we headed up to the North Shore to spend the morning working at the Loko Ea fishpond. From rock wall building to invasive grass removal, they hold community work days every third Saturday to continue the restoration of the 400 year old fishpond. Work began on the project in 2013 and has been ongoing since to bring the Loko ea back to life as a functioning fishpond. Long before the influx of visitors and development this very special place was part of an ahupuaa that supplied the fish for this community.
The day began with cultural protocol (oli and pule), introductions by all attendees, and Hawaiian values (laulima, aloha, mālama ʻāina, and lōkahi) were instilled and practiced throughout the day. The staff shared a short history about the extensive history of this fishpond, the benefits to the land, and their future plans to be able to offer food to the community.
When the work started, they gave us options: 1) some nice relaxing weeding in the shade where you could sit and be cool next to the pond, 2) helping to build a tent for the garden area, or 3) clearing a large area of land of grass clumps and weeds for use as a future garden. This was hard labor with pickaxes and hot sun – so naturally we chose that one! We love hard work. Besides we’re in BEASTMODE!
We spent approximately 2 hours using pickaxes and shovels to dig out grass clumps and trees, then shuttled the debris to a large pile. At the end, we had sore muscles, blistered hands, and dehydration – but most of all big smiles and a sense of fulfillment. Because there’s nothing like putting in a hard effort and giving back to the land of the island that gives us so much. Mahalo to the wonderful staff who were so welcoming, knowledgeable and made all of us feel like part of the ohana – they even served a delicious lunch!