He keiki aloha nā mea kanu.

Beloved children are the plants.

It is said of farmers that their plants are like beloved children, receiving much attention and care.

Several weeks ago I happened to meet the man I believe is the individual responsible for turning a small plot of land, perhaps 10 square feet, into a little edible oasis. A pocket garden. I have watched this little lot on the corner of the public parking lot off of Kuakini, near Kalikala Cuisine and the Fish Hopper, undergo an amazing transformation. It used to be hard, barren dirt, with trash tossed into it, old clothes, an occasional errant slipper, you name it. I don’t even recall when this transformation began. There are now a lot of edibles packed into that pocket garden. There are papaya trees bearing fruit, taro, turmeric, a citrus tree, and probably more edibles, and ornamentals.

I happened to catch the man when he had dug up all his taro, which were piled to the side, and he was replanting them to the center of the lot, as shown in the photo. I still haven’t figured out when the taro produce a sizable root to eat. I asked him what he knew about it. He answered, “Google told me it’s about 200 days.”

We chatted a while with him about how impressed I was with what he had done to that little lot, a little Garden of Eden. If I recall correctly, he brought 20 bags of planting soil from Home Depot. He was very humble and seemed to have a “do what I can” attitude.

I told my friend about meeting him. She seems to know the people and back story on many things here. She said, “That must be Kawika.” I should have asked him his name and asked to take his picture. He might be homeless and living on Niumalu Beach or at that corner. He, his spirit, and his actions inspire me. He’s making the world a better place, no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential the gesture. He brings beauty and food where there was barren, disrespected land, and his care and love is so visible.

2 thoughts on “He keiki aloha nā mea kanu.

  1. I love this story. I love this man, even though he doesn’t know it. Maybe, the next time you see him, you can tell him we send him much admiration for his efforts and his care of our mother earth, she so deserves. Sandy

  2. Inspiring and uplifting. Thank you for this post, Sharlene. I hope you will have another opportunity to speak with Kawika, if that is indeed who it is. A photo, with you in it, would be welcome.

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