The Study Abroad Newsletter

Aloha Worldwide

Kaiulani Kamau
Semester at Sea, Worldwide

Kaiulani at a childrens orphanage in Myanmar The most memorable moment throughout my 112 day voyage through Semester At Sea would be visiting a Christian orphanage in Myanmar (Burma). We talked with the children and they performed some songs for us as well. After they finished their performance they wanted us to share our talents so I got up and danced Waikoloa by Darrel Lupenui. It was great sharing my love for hula half way around the world and I could see that the children and their guardians enjoyed it as well. While I was dancing I saw the head mother of the program crying while I was dancing and then I stopped looking at her because I didn’t want to cry myself. After I finished the song she came up to me and gave me a big bear hug it was one of the most beautiful moments. After I danced one of the girls got up and said something in Burmese and the mother told me to replay the song she wanted to dance to it. So I replayed the same Hawaiian song and that little girl went in the middle of the house and did a Burmese/Hula song to Waikoloa. It was beautiful. As she danced I saw the head mother crying with the biggest smile on her face, it was a very emotional moment for her.

Kaiulani teaching hula to children at the orphanage I do not know if these children get a lot of interaction with visitors that come by their home but I am pretty sure they never had a Hawaiian come to their home. After I danced we cooled off with some lychee juice which was amazing and one of the guys in our group sang and played on the guitar. After that the guide we came with asked if I could teach them part of the hula song so they could practice it when I was gone, I told them of course I could. I got up and had the kids behind me and then my friends behind them. I taught them the first two verses step by step. After that, I had just me and the kids perform it in front of my friends and the house mothers. I can’t even begin to put into words how I felt at that moment, but it was a really good feeling. This visit was one of my highlights of the trip and possibly my entire life. I loved sharing the Hawaiian culture with the people I met around the world and Semester At Sea. UH Hilo gave me an amazing opportunity and for that I am forever grateful!