Hawaii: We Are All Connected

Submitted by Ryan Cromer on the 2020 winter session study abroad program in Hawaii sponsored by College of Education and Human Development…

Native Hawaiians believe in the healing qualities of the ocean, and it is a crucial aspect in their culture. In Hawaiian, “ha” means the “breath of life.”  It is the first breath we take when we emerge from the womb. It’s the first breath when we breach the surface of the water. “Ha” is life. “Wai” is water, and “‘i” is gods. Hawai’i is a culmination of this, meaning the breath of the ocean of the gods. To walk the island, breathe the air and interact with others, you are connected to the gods and life. We are all connected through “ha”. This is why Hawaiians say “aloha.” It is much more than hello, good-bye and love. Alo means face. When they would greet one another, they’d press their foreheads against one another to share breath, life and connection. It is a beautiful belief that stuck with me throughout my stay.

The sun is setting over the ocean, and the evening breeze can be felt dancing through the palm trees.