Today was a bitter sweet day, as it was our last day presenting at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. We were all up early anxious to get to the festival and get the day started. The UH tent was featuring kuʻi kalo, lomilomi, way finding, hula, mele, etc. We were also giving away all the plants that were brought from Hawaiʻi. Unfortunately, the plants cannot come back to Hawaiʻi, so different alumns from around the DC area adopted all of them.
As the afternoon was approaching there was a storm headed right into DC. This forced the festival to end a little early. The entire UH delegation was scheduled to close the festival. Due to the storm, we had to rush to the main stage and close the festival before the storm hit the mall. Even though it was rushed, we ended with a wonderful performance. The entire delegation sang Hawaiʻi Ponoʻī and we did a hei chant.
After the performance, everyone rushed back to the tent and grabbed everything, running to the buses. Perfect timing, as we started to drive away, the storm had just reached the mall area. Everyone quickly helped one another with all the supplies we had.
Finally, we all got settled into our rooms and started to pack for our early morning tomorrow to go home. We ended the evening and the trip with a small get together for dinner, we were trying to eat as much of the leftover food as possible, to talk story and spend time with everyone before we all go back to our different islands and towns.
I will never forget this trip. I got to see many monuments, statues, and sites that I only read and study about. Meeting new people and learning so much more about my culture was the best part. I miss home so much and ready to leave DC, but the experiences I have had through this trip and especially the people I got to meet and get to know was the best.
Thank you so much for this opportunity to represent the University of Hawaiʻi and the state of Hawaiʻi. I am forever grateful for all of these experiences. Mahalo!