by Lois Ann Ell
The day began sunny and clear. Our morning mission would begin soon, and the plan was to head to the beach after. As we drove closer to Po’ipu though, it began to rain. Not passing sprinkles, but a consistent, heavy downpour.
“What are we marching for again?” my daughter asked from the back seat, in her Hello Kitty swimsuit and princess dress. She didn’t exactly look like an activist. My husband, who sat next to me, turned around to answer her as I drove. My mind drifted back to when my son was two years old, and he hiked up Nounou Mountain with me. I told hikers we passed on the trail “yeah, he loves to hike!” but the truth was I love to hike, and I was desperate to get out of the house and get some exercise, so I dragged him along with me. Luckily, he liked it too. And it wasn’t raining.
We were kicking it up a few notches this morning, as now we had three kids in tow—albeit older than two years old— and it wasn’t just exercise this time but a much bigger reason, a demonstration for the safety and health of our island and its people.
We parked our truck among hundreds of others. The sky was now dark and heavy, with sheets of rain hitting the pavement we would soon be walking on. I looked around and saw wise, prepared people with things like umbrellas, trash bags, hats and jackets.
“Oh well, you won’t melt, unless you’re a witch, of course,” I said to the kids as we stepped out into the rain, trying to make light of the situation. My friend Tanya thought resourcefully and wrapped her daughter’s arm cast in a reusable shopping bag she had in her truck. I threw my kids some towels. I had a flash of concern that the kids would catch a cold from walking in the rain for an hour, but reminded myself that that theory is actually not true. I planned on reminding anyone else that day of the same thing who might look over at our troupe with a look of judgment.
But there was none. Everyone was in support of each other and focused on why we were there. As we walked briskly, the commonality and unified spirit was infectious. I’m pretty sure my kids felt it too. I think I saw a smile from underneath the dripping wet towel draped over my son’s head.
“We are instilling values by action,” Tanya reassured me when I wondered if the children even understood what they were participating in. She added that we are showing them that not every Saturday is spent enjoying the beach. I looked up to the sky, dark and cloudy still, and agreed.