Saturday, March 24, 2012
Haili and the tamarind tree!
This Thursday on the big island of Hawaii I had the opportunity to meet Haili. I'd been walking down the street when I decided to try to access the shoreline. Because I didn't want to wait until the next public access site, I decided to take the next street. As I walked down towards the ocean I saw this aged man sitting beside a stroller, his distinct features immediately caught my eye, I smiled and walked on.
After spending some time by the shore I retraced my steps and there he stood looking up into a tree. He smiled as I walked closer and pointing upwards asked me, "you try the fruit of this tree?" I looked up and was surprised that I actually recognized it as a tamarind tree! I told him that I had eaten the fruit before. He then told me that he wanted to get me some. He bustled about under the tree picking up the pods that had fallen. Then he threw his hands up in the air and said. "That rat! He's gone and eaten it all!" Haili then suggested that I watch baby Keana who was fast asleep in in the stroller.. while he would attempt to reach up into the branches. Alas they were much to high up for his short little body and the pods that could be reached where already empty.
Then it was my turn to share a solution for getting the fruit. I would climb the tree. He looked at bit concerned but I reassured telling him that I would be careful. So up I climbed. There was another tree leaning against the tamarind tree that helped me reach the lowest of the high branches.. and then I was able to get up higher where I could then reach the tamarind. I found some pods that had not yet met their fate in a rat encounter, and picked them. Haili rushed under the tree and and lifted up his shirt like a basket, catching the pods, as I tossed them down.
As we worked he shared about his life. It was incredible to hear the stories he shared from living on the islands. I was curious to know the meaning of their names, and he told me that his Haili, meant church under tree and his granddaughter Keana meant peaceful waves. He kept saying in his cute grandfatherly way, I will always remember this found memory with you Melody under the tamarind tree. After I got down from the tree he wanted to load me up with all the pods, but I told him that I picked them for him, and I would be leaving that day so I wouldn't be able to wait for them to dry as he told me they needed to. He seemed quite sad and asked if he could give me bananas, but he didn't have them with him and I wasn't sure where he would get them, so I declined. I then said that the best gift would be if I could get some pictures of him, so I could always remember him. At first he was a bit shy and then he was himself again. As you can see in the last picture he put some of the pods in this headband which I thought was a great way to capture his fun, spunky personality.
Its hard to fully express and even capture what this experience was like, but I was blessed. Experiencing new cultures is great, but sometimes its hard to really see what they are like when your not a local. Meeting Haili gave me that opportunity. His simplicity, wisdom, and cheerful outlook on life was so refreshing. I hope to meet him again one day soon in Heaven where we can pick tamarind together and not have to worry about rats getting the cream of the crop!