My Jungbub Journal – Twenty-first Day of Dong-ahn-guh (winter meditation retreat)

 

Attending Kekaha Community Meeting December 2018

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21 days passed. As I slow down and reflect myself during the retreat, I already feel recharged and renewed.

Today my wife and I joined the Kekaha Community Meeting. Kekaha is the most west-end town in Hawaii. That means it’s the most west-part of the United States except Alaska.

About 300 people gathered at Kekaha Elementary School cafeteria. Newly-elected major also joined with his new team to listen what we speak. It’s a proactive move. I start to like him.

During the meeting, I could not understand about 70% of what they talked because of the language. It’s just not me. My wife also had a hard time to understand. They use thick Hawaiian pidgin. Yet, I could pick keywords so I understood what they’re talking “about.”

As I was sitting in the meeting, I thought about my neighbors. They are descendants of sugarcane works. Mostly moved here between 150-100 years ago. Because a majority of the workers were male, they married Hawaiian women. And, Kekaha sugar mill was mainly run by Filipino.

Kekaha’s summer is brutal. I can imagine how tough being a sugarcane worker in Kekaha would be. I heard that they’re paid just enough to pay the rent and buy groceries. They survived every year and had built this community. Due to their sweat and tear, I can live in paradise now. This thought made me humble and grateful.

 

What should I do for my neighbor?

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During the meeting, I could feel a strong bond between them. They survived Hurricane Iniki in 1992. I heard that it took one year to rebuild the infrastructure on Kauai at the time. And, Kekaha was the last town to get power back. They lived this town without electricity for one year.

Kekaha has been the last town to get benefits from the county. Today MC also mentioned that the construction crew fixing roads arrived at Kekaha. He was excited but soon they left because the budget ran out. When he said that, everybody laughed.

Sorry. I’m not complaining. Just writing the facts about my town.

Another unique fact of Kekaha is that many intelligent people live here. Kekaha is the west-end. Then, PMRF -Pacific Missile Range Facility- is located next to Kekaha. PMRF launches military missiles to the Pacific Ocean. Many of the engineers live in Kekaha. They are literally rocket scientists. My friend D. is also a computer engineer and he is super smart. Kekaha is a unique town.

I want to attend the community meeting regularly. This is the place I chose to live. I want to know about what’s going on. And I keep asking my question: “What should I do for my neighbor?” It’s my first duty as a Jungbub student.