What a privilege to visit Hawaii recently and connect with the place where my kids and I roamed many years ago. Back when we were all younger, Waikiki was THE place to be for sunshine, the ocean, cooing Rock Doves/Domestic Pigeons, the everywhere scents of sun tan lotion and plumeria, the soothing "feel" of warm white sand, and a sparkling blue-green ocean dotted with surfers, swimmers, and boats. On this visit we drove into a busy Waikiki where I later hunkered down on the 19th floor of an amazing hotel. I loved my time on the patio watching the ever-hopeful surfers and surf paddlers waiting (from dawn to dusk) for the next wave . . . the sweet sound of traffic carrying people to work and to play and to sightsee . . . sunrises and sunsets rich with streaming colors . . . the rich fragrance of plumeria . . . and the ever-present trade winds. I spent a good part of my visit adventuring around Oahu with my amazing friend and relative, Mary Anne Vorfeld. And other times I was off on mini-adventures, like riding the Waikiki Trolley. What fun feeling the warm wind in my hair and having a savvy driver who maneuvered the trolley through traffic and near curbs like a pro. She narrated the entire time so people could feel history come alive. Refreshing. Fun! Not so many photos, as I was busy absorbing sights and sounds and experiences. I did manage to get a few shots, including fish & chips from a restaurant in my hotel. The fish was the catch of the day, and the presentation, servers, and the food itself were breathtaking. I'm sure I didn't gain an ounce! One evening during the middle of my trip, I had just returned to my room when I heard (and saw) fireworks. Oh, right: this was the night Hawaii 50 was premiering for 2016, and the cast/crew/honored guests were celebrating on the beach near the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Thrilling fireworks for what seemed like a half hour, but who knows? Some people say, "Well, I never go to Waikiki because they say it's not like it used to be." True. But I spent a lot of time wandering around Waikiki, and loved every minute of it. Many people from different countries, different cultures, enjoying themselves. Weddings everywhere! Long white limos everywhere with VIPs and wedding parties. Hotel employees were magnificent. Busy, busy traffic, but not frantic. Courteous drivers. From people wandering around wearing swimsuits to people in formal wedding parties: there was no one "uniform." Everyone fits in - in Waikiki. Sure, it's busy, and not the place to visit if one is looking for long periods of serenity. But it's simply in a class by itself.
Thanks to social media, stories like this one can be viewed throughout the world. And thanks to social media, stories like these can become viral. Which they should.
Looks to me like a group of school children could use a footbridge to help them attend school every day, even in the rainy season. This is another project by the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation. This video explains it: Wikipedia says this: "Sarangani is a province of the Philippines located in the SOCCSKSARGEN region. Its capital is Alabel. With a 230 kilometres (140 mi) coastline along the Sarangani Bay and Celebes Sea, the province is at the southernmost tip of Mindanao Island, and borders South Cotabato and Davao del Sur to the north, and Davao Occidental to the east." Here are some statistics from the Dept. of Education:
July 2014. Feeling very honored this week. The Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation (YBH) honored Josiah Go, Rick Passo, and me by naming yellow boats after us . . . boats designed to help the remarkable community of Great Santa Cruz Island, Zamboanga City, Philippines. This particular project on Sta Cruz is a sustainable ecotourism project that aims to provide alternative livelihood to fishermen. By giving livelihood, YBH hopes they will protect their environment as well as improve their income so that their kids can continue going to school. Here’s what the foundation said (and posted on Facebook), “Our first three Yellow Boat Adventures boats for Sta. Cruz Yellow Boat. community is named in honor of 3 special people who helped YBH at very crucial points and until now are still very active HOPE PADDLERS! The board of YBHF unanimously approved to give them the honor. Our chief rainmaker Josiah Go, our chief connector Rick Passo and our Chief inspiration Judy Simpson Vorfeld! Thank you!” To be so honored is humbling and exciting. This is a foundation whose volunteers work special kinds of magic on any given day, in order to help Filipino kids get their education and be challenged by what the future holds. I love volunteering for YBH, even though we are separated physically. One of many blessings given us is technology, so we can not only have worthy goals, but often the means to fulfill them. Social media, particularly Facebook, has been an unsurpassed tool for communication within and outside of the Philippines. It is bringing together many people who love to give with others who love to give, and the results are not just amazing, but sometimes wildly creative. People are finding methods for helping the disadvantaged in ways that encourage education, sustainability, and self-respect. A shot of the turnover of the boats to the community followed by a shot of much of the community and YBH Volunteers. And another project underway that has enormous potential, The Yellow Dorm of Hope. It is under construction. Here are some links so you can see what the dorm is all about. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.495963543824683.1073741869.158289907592050&type=1 https://www.facebook.com/YellowBoat/photos/a.495963543824683.1073741869.158289907592050/495963853824652/?type=1 https://www.facebook.com/YellowBoat/photos/a.495963543824683.1073741869.158289907592050/495964130491291/?type=1