Posts Tagged ‘Malu Aina’

Dire News

May 9, 2008

This past Saturday Malu Aina hosted another successful farm day.  In addition to the regulars we were joined by 3 students from the university and a young couple on holiday from Vancouver.   It rained on and off through the morning but we still managed to plant some sweet potatoes and weed the ones planted last month.

Additionally, we transplanted our “Taro Collection”.  The collection is made up of about 22 varieties of Taro which we are cultivating to help maintain the genetic diversity of Taro.  Before the Hawaiian islands were colonized by europeans there were said to be over 200 varieties of Taro being grown.  Currently, there are only about 50 or 60 in cultivation.

Everyone was in good spirits and lingered over lunch until 3 in the afternoon.  Though this was a joyous and hopeful event, I am trouble by the many ominous signs and dark tidings from around the planet.

The paper today, as on many days, was filled with dire news.  The cost of oil continues to rise, which makes everything more expensive.  Living on an island, we feel the higher cost of fuel very quickly.  The prices we pay for food seem to rise weekly and the cost of gas moves upward on a daily basis.  There are also reports from around the world of food riots.  These have been triggered both by scarcity and the fact that staple foods are becoming unaffordable.   More and more people on the planet are lacking the necessities of food, water, shelter, and basic medical care.

As a society we should ask ourselves what role have we played in the creation of this current crisis?  What is it about our societal system that is creating such privation and suffering.  Why are we “choosing”, consciously or unconsciously, to live in,  participate in, and perpetuate a system that requires that others go without?

Dorothy Day saw the systemic nature of the evils we as a society participate in with such cold thoughtlessness.  She called it the “filthy rotten system.”  As a Catholic, she saw the “Works of Mercy” and teachings of Jesus as way out, a way to build a new system based on love and compassion.   She spent most of her adult life battling the “filthy rotten system” and trying to create something new and better.

Are we willing to do likewise and challenge and change the system?  There doesn’t seem to be much time left before things really get out of hand.  Those of us living today are the ones that must do the hard work of eliminating the many threats to humanity created in the last 50 years.  If we fail in our work, or simply do not see it as necessary, some of us may be alive to usher in the end of the human era.

The transition between yugas (cosmic aeons) is always a messy affair.  It is a point of transition, a bardo of sorts.   It is a moment in time in which change happens quickly.  However, we, collectively, must be the instruments of change.  There will be no rapture or miraculous divine intervention that saves us at the last minute.  We are on are on own and must awaken to this bardo, this time of transition.

If we are to survive then we must abandon our suicidal pursuit of greed and violence and find the resources for positive change within ourselves.  We must, as Gandhi said, “become the change we wish to see.”  It is a teaching far more profound than it appears at first glance.  It is formula for change from someone who took on, and defeated, the then most powerful nation on the planet. 

The possibilities of the future lie within us .  Will we choose the path of gods, and create and protect life, or the path of demons, who love death and slavery?

Peace, Paul 

Last Week

December 16, 2007

It is the last week at Malu Aina before Judy and I travel to the mainland for the holidays.  The last few days on the farm have been wet.  There is standing water in all of the fields and everything has become damp and limp.  Our little cabin in the woods has held up nicely.  There is mud everywhere and keeping ones feet and clothes “clean-ish” has become a big challenge.


From our cabin we can hear cars on the main road and cows lowing in the distance..  Closer to the cabin we are surrounded by the sounds of frogs, birds, and the vibrant aliveness of nature.


The sun in Hawaii comes up quickly in the morning.  One moment it is night and the next, or so it seems, day is upon us.  The slow drawn-out predawn show of the northern latitudes is missing here.   As the sun leaps into the sky it is greeted by crowing and tussling of Roosters preparing to leave the roost.


Tuesday I spent the morning working under the cover of the screen house.  This is the small shelter where we grow all of our salad greens.   Without the protection of the screen house, the fragile lettuce plants would not survive the torrential rains of the rain-forest.


In the afternoon I sat with Martha, Judy, and Jim around the dinner table stuffing and stamping envelopes while drinking coffee and “talking story”.  I was happy not to put my wet socks and muddy boots back on and trudge out to the the fields.


In the evening Martha prepared a delicious dinner.  We finished the day with pumpkin pie, of which we all ate too much.


Several of the Banana plants on the farm, have been knocked down by the wind.   On Wednesday, covered in rain gear and dodging the worst of the rain, I replanted many of the stumps.


In the evening our local Hawaii Seed group had its monthly meeting.  We discussed GMOs and how to protect Taro from becoming the next crop contaminated / poisoned by Genetic Engineering.  The New Year will mark the begining of the Hawaii Legislative session.  It will also be a busy time for us as we struggle to convince our legislators to resist the enticements of money and power, and instead do what is right – protect our food and our children from the dangers of GMOs.


On Saturday morning we will leave for New Orleans.  I will miss the quiet and routines of Malu Aina and life on the farm.  However it will be good to be with family for the Holidays.  It is something that we missed last year.


Peace, Paul  

A New Home

November 16, 2007

We have made the move out to Malu Aina, a farm 20 minutes south of Hilo, HI. It is a farm rooted in the Catholic Worker tradition and so has a strong Peace and Justice focus. Neither Judy nor I are Catholic. This doesn’t seem to matter. Though life at the farm is lived within the context of a strong spiritual vision, there are few outward trappings of religion. It is as if the farm itself, its vibrant aliveness, hard work, and communalism is the whole of the religious life. The life here is sacred. Which is not to say that moving did not have its ups and downs. It was a hard move as we once again moved into a smaller living space. However, in many ways it has been a move up. We now have more privacy, a much better kitchen, and over all better living situation. We are definitely more settled here than we were in Hilo. At night we fall asleep looking at the stars or listening to the rain in the forest outside our cabin. In the morning we awaken with the sun and the stirring of the roosters in the predawn light.

We are happy!

Peace, Paul