On Tuesday morning, November 1st, I was looking for the wheelbarrow to collect materials for the composting lesson we were going to have with the 5th graders of Makaha Elementary School. Every day, in fact, different grades from Makaha School come to the farm for science to do different activities: like gardening, learning about animals, bees, fish, hawaiian plants and alternative energy. It took a good half hour before I gave up my search for that old wheelbarrow, then I realized that the wheelbarrow was gone, stolen. I was mad! I asked myself, "Who would take an old wheelbarrow and why?" When I needed to get the materials for the lesson of the day, I suddenly realized that something else was missing beside the wheelbarrow!
Last year, for Earth Day, students had planted some palm trees and crotons in big pots to be used for ceremonies at the school. A lot of those plants were gone, too. Somebody had taken the wheelbarrow and had put the plants in it. There were tracks that led to the open field in the back of the farm, where the plants were convienently transported into another vehicle.
Frustrated that morning I told all six classes that came to the farm what had happened. The children were very upset and angry; this wasn't the first time that things belonging to the students were stolen. A few months ago somebody took a goat, all the birds, air pumps for the fish tanks, carpenters tools -- all the things that the students were taught to take care of and were needed to complete their projects. When things like this happen, you get so discouraged and fed up that you feel like giving up, and that was exactly how I felt that morning!
Two days later, the first graders from Sacred Heart Academy came to visit the farm. After spending the morning with them, during their lunch break, a fifth grade class, from Makaha Elementary, along with their teacher Mrs. Kuroda, came to the farm. They approached me in a group and altogether had said, "Mr. Gigi, we love you." I was surprised and I replied, "That's very nice...!" I didn't complete what I was saying when the students had stepped aside, revealing a brand new wheelbarrow! A lump arose in my throat, I was so overwhelmed by the surprise that I was speechless, but I was deeply moved. All I could utter was "Thank you."
After the other students had learned what had happened on the farm, they went back to class and discussed what they could do. They decided to buy a new wheelbarrow. With the help of their families, their teachers Mrs. Kuroda, and other teachers like Mrs. Dias, Mrs. Yabuno, and Ms. Morasaki, they purchased a wheelbarrow. The students and the teachers names are written on the new wheelbarrow. Signitures of people who care and give hope.
This generous gift from the hearts of people who care, really helped me to see things in a different light. Something negative has been turned into something beautiful and real. It has happened before when other things were stolen, like when the goat was stolen, Mr. Albert Silva donated a new one. After people heard that the birds were stolen; some of the children's families donated birds, a parrot, and peacocks. We are never too old to learn the baluable lesson of hope, when there are people who care. What a beautiful gift to give to our children, to our community, to our world!
P.S. Last Sunday, November 6th, a parent from the Sacred Heart Academy, came from Kahala with another new wheelbarrow. They saw what the children in Makaha did and they wanted to help, too. We lost one and now we have two. There is a lesson in here somewhere!