After an early morning in Minneapolis on Monday the 2nd we have safely arrived in Kona! Both of our flights went very smoothly and the whole group is excited to be here! We walked right off the plane to sunshine on the ocean. We have checked in at our hotel for the first two nights, Uncle Billy’s, which is located close to the ocean and in walking distance of several nice shops in Kona. It is very warm and sunny and we are loving the temperature compared to the typical Midwest January. We spent the rest of the day getting settled and exploring our new surroundings.
Today we were able to visit Pu'uhonua o Honaunau, which is a sacred space for the native people. The name means place of refuge, and was used for many years as a location where people would flee to when they broke the kapu, also known as the law, in order to avoid death. While here we were able to hike around and view several huts on the land as well as significant rock structures.
Following a picnic on the shore, we traveled to the Ichido Coffee Plantation. This plantation was farmed by three generations of a Japanese family. We were able to view the machinery used to transform the coffee plant into beans as well as tour the home of this family and discuss roasting beans with a worker. Here we learned about how the children attended American schooling as well as a Japanese language school while helping on the family farm as well.
To end the day some students went snorkeling in the ocean and we all went out to dinner for Professor Storm's 60th birthday! Tomorrow we will be traveling across the Big Island to Hawaii Volcano National Park!
We are excited for this adventure! Check back for more updates from the islands as we move about to learn about the U.S. School system in Hawaii!