One of the main highlights of our Internship program is the Inter-Island outreach to one of the neighboring Hawaiian islands. This semester, our interns headed off to Maui and had the time of their lives. Sit back and relax as Noel, one of our current interns, shares her experience of this trip.
Inter-island was an experience that our entire internship had been anxiously awaiting. We were split into two separate groups, which allowed us to grow with each other on a deeper level. There was the possibility that each team would venture to different islands. We did not discover our destinations until we arrived at the airport in Honolulu. It was there the two groups found out that we would both be departing for Maui. Hardly being able to contain our excitement, we boarded our plane pondering on what possible adventures lie ahead in the next ten days. To our knowledge, these would be the last moments we would all be together as one group until we return to Oahu. Stepping off the plane, I began to wonder what new relationships would develop, who I would connect with most, what challenges we would endure, and what new perspectives I would gain while being submerged in the beauty of the nature that surrounded us. As we piled into the back of our trucks, I began thinking about how grateful I was to be with all these amazing individuals and was in such awe of the beauty that Maui embodies. We began our trek to what would be our home base for the next week and a half. I felt such a sense of serenity and contentment as the sun shone on my face and the wind gently tossed my hair. Our group arrived at The Oasis, which was the place we would be staying for the duration of the trip. I was relieved to discover that we weren’t surrounded by luxury and that our living conditions would be extremely simplistic. This was beyond refreshing and something I found great value in.
My favorite part of every day was not knowing what would be in store. We were without technology and were unaware of what our daily schedules looked like. It truly allowed us to live in the moment and soak in everything each moment had to offer. Adventures became more thrilling and we learned to become comfortable with the unknown. Being someone who typically has a plan and schedule for every day, this taught me the excitement and joy that accompanies spontaneity.
One of the coolest adventures we embarked on was to the Ali’I Kula Lavender farm, which is on Haleakala Mountain. I can honestly say this is one of most breathtaking places I have ever seen. Weeding around several of the citrus trees was something I thoroughly enjoyed, mainly because we had the opportunity to dig through the rich, black soil. Some of us found great joy in putting worms in each other’s pants, which was a bonding experience in itself. We were also given the opportunity to plant lavender on the side of the mountain. Although we were focused on serving at this farm, it was a time where we felt rejuvenated and able to treasure each other’s company.
We also had the privilege of being hosted by amazing people who went above and beyond to pour into our lives. Starr and Ben are a couple that modeled the perfect example of what hospitality is and although we were complete strangers to them, they treated us as if we were their own. After helping a church with their local program that provides food for people every week, we began making our way to Starr and Ben’s house. Little did we know, they had prepared an entire meal for our group. I can speak for all of us when I say this was the best meal we had eaten during our time on Maui. It was obvious that they had put an immense amount of time and effort into this meal and wanted to bless us. An overwhelming peace\ permeated from this home and it was an experience that we all will treasure dearly.
This outreach trip was incredibly impactful and grew each of us in new ways. It was an honor to serve with every individual and the memories we made together will last a lifetime. Each experience taught me how to better serve others and I will never find words to describe how truly thankful I am to have had this opportunity.