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  • Seema

the poi bowl

Words from an interviewee:

First I had to imagine what's it's like in the U.S. because I don't consider Hawaii really part of a U.S. I mean it is, politically, economically, all that stuff. But I mean inside of me, Hawaii is not part of the U.S. So those are kind of where my leanings are.

What would the U.S. look like without racism? For me it's almost incomprehensible. There is so much that needs to change. So many eyes need to open, so many hearts need to open. But people don't want to change. I think it's incomprehensible but it's not impossible.

To have aloha is having an underlying guiding principle of acceptance and openness, generosity. The concept of aloha is something I look for more in people that I admire and want to emulate. So how are their actions something I would consider aloha? My grandmother was a teacher. I'd ask, "Oh, Tutu, how do you teach all these kids in a lower income area?' "You just love them." That ability to kind of love everyone...

I love the idea of the poi bowl that sits in the middle of the table. Once that poi is uncovered, harsh words may not be said. So you gotta eat together. That act of sustenance is something you do without rancor, without anger, without judgement. Mutual understanding of how to behave. Don't be greedy. Leave some for someone else. That sharing of food, that sharing part is a big part of aloha. "Hānai" is Hawaiian for the informal adoption of someone else. It literally means "to feed." It's the thought that you've taken them in because you fed them.

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