Stay Together Hikers separated from their partners are more apt tomake a wrong turn or lose the established trail. Keeptrack of each other, and regroup periodically, especiallynear junctions or when the trail gets obscure. Monitoreveryone’s condition. Dehydration, sunstroke, hypother-mia, and fatigue can hit even experienced hikers
Watch the TimeHawai‘i does not have daylight savings time, and nightfalls quickly in the tropics. Getting a late start increasesthe possibility of getting caught in the dark. Know yourturnaround time and stick to it to allow enough time toreturn. If you’re caught by darkness, stay put unless youare very familiar with the trail and have a flashlight
08.18.04 First impression after my first night in Hawaii: What the hell was I thinking, and how did I ever think that this was a good idea.
Second thought: I knew this would be hard (especially in the beginning), I wanted to throw myself right into it to get started, and I need to give it some more time to let myself get used to how different everything is before I jump to conclusions.
Third thought: I hope I'm strong enough to actually do this.
After 4 flights, I landed in Hilo at around 3:30 Hawaii time.
I was exhausted and worn out, but I was excited too. Flying in to the Islands was beautiful. After hours and hours of seeing nothing but open water out the window, it was incredible to come upon the Big Island under a canopy of clouds. It was gorgeous.
When I arrived at the airport, I quickly found my bag and began to look for Shankar, the owner of Dharma Farms who had promised to pick me up at the airport. He was nowhere to be found.
He had mentioned that he lived only five minutes away from the airport, so I figured he might just be taking his time to get there so he woulnd't have to wait for me.
At 4:00, I called his house. It rang and rang, and then I got a message "Memory Full" and a dial tone. Now I started to freak out a little bit.
I thought maybe I had the wrong number written down, so I even called my Mom and had her look up his number on the website, but it was the right number.
At around 4:15 I tried again and was able to reach him.
At 5:15, a pick-up truck pulls up in front of the airport. Shankar is riding int the front with two girls next to him, and two guys are hanging off the back. I get in the car and everyone is very friendly, and we start driving.
"Where are we going?" I ask.
"To work" Shankar replies.
In my head I'm thinking "Are you kidding me? I woke up at 3 AM Milwaukee time and it's now about 11:00 PM Milwaukee time, and I've only had 30 mintues of sleep on the plane, and now I have to work?!" but, of course, I didn't say anything.
I just went to work trying to convince myself that I was excited to see the farm and that I could handle a little work after being so tired.
We pull up to the warehouse where the noni is produced. We get out of the car and I'm hit by the smell of ripe noni fruit. It has got to be the single most disgusting smell to ever hit my nostrils: somehwere between rotting eggs, sour milk, and vomit. Shankar tells me to take my things into the warehouse and change into work clothes.
I leave my backpack (including my valuables, except for my wallet, which is on me) in the warehouse were he told me to put it, and I come outside. Everyone is waiting in the truck, and we go to another one of Shankar's properties.
On the way there, Shankar tells me that they've had an occasional problem with theives (of course, he tells me this AFTER I've left my stuff where he told me to, AFTER I get here - with no prior mention of that in our earlier communications).
We pull up to the second farm, referred to as Lava Land because part of it is covered with the solidified lava rock from an eruption about 15-20 years ago, and a girl called Nicole (who is very warm and seems to have adopted me already) shows me around and puts me to work watering plants.
We work for about 2 hours or so, which felt like the longest amount of time in my life. I am wandering around, trying to hold back tears because at this point, I am starting to feel disoriented, I'm seeing that I've idealized things quite a bit, and I'm starting to doubt my decision to come here. At the same time, I keep telling myself, almost like a mantra "I'm in Hawaii, this is Paradise, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, I can handle this."
Nicole takes me over to the edge of Lava Land as it starts to get dark. She points out the glowing light in the distance, and it turns out that is the fresh lava flow off in the distance. It is beautiful.
The truck comes around and while I have been watering plants, the men were bundling up bags of noni, which are now stinking up the bed of the truck. I end up being one of the people who holds on to the back of the truck as we head off to another location for pickup of more bags of fruit.
Finally, we get back to the warehouse and all of us unload all of the noni bags onto platforms that have been set out. Each bag weighs 60 lbs and because each bag is filled with ripe, soft noni that has been sitting in a truck with hundreds of other bags of noni on top of it, there is noni juice and pulp seeping out of each bag onto all of us.
It is now 8:30 PM Hawaii time, and I realize I have been awake for approximately 24 hours because it is 3:30 AM in Milwaukee. I get my bag from the warehouse and everything is there, no worries. We hop back into the truck and go off to Shankar's house in the city.
It is explained to me that on Tuesdays and Thursdays, people usually stay at Shankar's house, but otherwise, they stay out on one of his properties in makeshift cabins (that are more like shantys) or in the old school bus.
Shankar's house is huge and there are several people living there and there are even a couple empty rooms. I was able to take a shower and I skipped dinner because I was so tired. I went to sleep at around 9, and after a few minutes trying to fight back tears because I am delieriously tired and having serious doubts about myself, I finally passed out.
I woke up today at 8:00 and I spoke to Nicole a bit. She lives out here, on Shankar's property, and she does extra work exchange to cover her rent here. I asked her what I am expected to do - stay at the farm or stay here (since there are extra rooms) - and she said I should talk to Shankar.
Part of me wants to see what it is like to stay at the farm, but part of me wants to wait a week or so until I am a little more used to being here to start staying at a place without the amenities that Shankar has here, and without anyone else around (that's right - if I stay int he school bus, only one other person is staying there and he's reportedly a loner, so I'm all by myself pretty much).
I'll let you know what happens, I have no idea what I'm doing or how I'm feeling, I keep trying to keep a good attitude but it's been difficult. I'll write again when I have more to say (hopefully better things!). The pictures below are of Kalapana (Lava Land) taken at another date.
adjusting to surroundings...
08.19.04 I realize that my initial impression of everything was definitely clouded by my extreme lack of sleep and by my sheer frustration that I was expected to work the second I got here.
Some have suggested that it might have been a test to let me know that I came here for work and that they don't want anyone who wants a free ride. Still, I think that before I leave here (whenever that will be), I might mention to Shankar that the way I was treated on my first day is a great way to scare off otherwise well intentioned volunteers.
(Corboy note: BS. Taking a sleep deprived jetlagged person and putting her to work, straight off the bat is not only inhumane, its a matter of workplace safety. Exhausted people on a farm are at risk of hurting themselves. )
Here at the house baby nonis are raised to be planted elsewhere. I overheard Gopal, Shankar's business partner, talking on the phone in the office and it turns out there has been an overproduction of the noni juice and they are trying to unload bottles on people as the demand decreses. I don't think this will mean that the work will be getting much slower though.
There are about eight to ten people living here at the house (or houses -- there are about three or four adjoining buildings on the property) and about 3 - 5 people living at various farming properties. People are apparently coming and going all of the time, but most people here have been here from about 4 - 7 months.
We cleaned out an upstairs room and so now I have my own room with a little piece of foam and a sheet on it as my bed, and a little blanket that I used to do yoga this morning. It's nice to have my own space and feel more settled in.
Tommy and Anton (a man from South Africa) made lunches for everyone and at around 2:30 we all climbed into the back of the truck to get to work. We headed out to another farm that I hadn't seen yet and we were all given machetes and set to work weeding the noni trees and pulling off excess leaves. The first hour or so was really hard on me and I felt confused about being here. I was drenced in sweat and the mosquitoes were eating me alive. I had an intense appreciation for all of the organic food that I have eaten, and I don't mind paying the extra price for it because I know now how much work goes into raising foods without the use of pesticides. By the time the truck came around, I felt great. I was exhausted from the work, but I felt good that I had worked so hard and done such a good job, and I was, of course, happy that it was over for the day. We drove back to the warehouse where we quiclky showered and got ready to go to a nearby ashram for dinner. I used an outdoor shower -- a square wooden platform that you stand on with two large wooden planks on each side, so as I was standing there, using a bowl to pour clean water on myself, I was able to look out over the trees and I see the ocean in the distance. I even used a gingerfruit plant that Matthew and Tommy showed me could be used as soap/shampoo.
We headed off to Guruda's ashram and as we approached we could hear devotional songs. I was familiar with kirtan (songs of devotion) from Austin, but i wasn't familiar with this intense Krshna worship. There was an altar in the front of the room and everyone was bowing down before pictures of Krshna intermittently in the singing. I prefer thinking of God as infinite consciousness and universal love intstad of picturing it in the form of an actual depicted god and worshipping it, so I felt out of my element a little bit. I was happy that the people there have found something that means so much to them and they take so seriously, but I don't see myself getting into it like that. It's just not what I'm looking for. I was really looking forward to a group meditation, but there wasn't one, which was disappointing. Still, the meal was great and I met some people and I was given my first lei there, which is now hanging up in my new room.
My son is interested in going to Hawaii to work on Dharma Farm. Should I be concerned for his safety? I have heard about cult type activities. I would appreciate any information.
Genuine science is based on use of hypotheses that can be proven false.
Thats what distinguishes permaculture from biodynamic farming which is based on assertions which cannot be proven false.
Pseudoscience is based on assertions that cannot be proven wrong. Thus assertions than cannot be proven wrong, pile up, like dust bunnies in dark corners.
And for maintaining authoritarian and unquestionable power, a system based on assertions that cannot be proven false is the way to go.
Authoritirian persons and sysetms dislike genuine science precisely because science is based on hypotheses that can, at a later time be proven wrong, when enough new information becomes available. The catholic church based its authority on the old earth centered solar system and thus felt threatened when other findings, including Galileo's telecope, demonstrated the existence of heavenly bodies never mentioned in the ancient texts on which the church based its authority.
So one way to dodge it is do as Steiner did--(or what the Krishnas do)call genuine science 'materialism' and call his own authoriarian/non-disrprovable stance 'Spiritual Science.'
(scientifically posited hypotheses can be dis-proved. Pseudo scientific assertions cannot be dis-proved)
Authoritarian persons and social systems dislike genuine science, because science can utter no absolutes--it can only give answers in terms of likelihoods, probablities, which do not appeal to persons who want black and white, absolute assertions.
So all you who have limited time and energy and who want to make this world a better place--your energy and attention are precious. Many want your attention and energy as well as your money.
They think they know better than you do what is good for you.
Are you aware that Permaculture and Biodynamics are different methods, and not the same at all?
Well intentioned persons may be misled to push Biodynamics as Permaculture because they have not been told the full truth about the difference between the two methods.
It is neither kind nor respectful to involve sincere adults in a pattern of disinformation
Do background research about a project and its actual ideology and the backgrounds of its leaders before you get involved.
It is a sad truth that some sustainablity projects are run by persons who will not tell you what the actual ideology of that project is--and you might be quite shocked if you were to be told what it is.