Saturday, April 23, 2011

Humility In a Dehydrated State

Home. Sick. Sniffles. Headache. Cough. Sore throat. But wait. What is that I see in the corner of the dining area? A water cooler! Yipee! Fresh purified water to feed my body. Oh happy day!

You've all heard about Honolulu water and Chromium-6 being found in high levels. If you haven't: Star Advertiser

After a ten year struggle with Lyme Disease, I am very careful about my health and what I put into my body. High levels of carcinogens and a weakened immune system don't go together. I don't care what the Dept. of Health says about the levels being safe. I'm still not drinking it.

And, so, I have a lovely water cooler from Aloha Water here to keep me hydrated while I recuperate. The cooler comes with 5-gallon bottles that are taken back, sanitized and reused. I feel much better about this way of drinking water than I do about buying small bottles and trying to recycle them.

I was dehydrated when I first got here. One night I had a headache and felt nauseous. My stomach turned over and over, while my body fatigued and my joints ached. Hawaiian weather can dehydrate. I drank lots of (bottled) water that night and felt better in the morning.

The next day, Mark and I went to meet a friend of a friend at Punahou School; the same Punahou School President Obama attended. And to answer those rumors of no one having remembered the President in Hawaii nor at school, a friend of mine was the ball girl for the Punahou basketball team and remembers "Barry" from school.

Ah, yes, back to Punahou and dehydration. We sat in this friend of a friend's office where she offered us water. I declined, trying to be polite. She insisted I take the water. "When I first moved here," she said, "I was dehydrated and didn't know it for a few days." I accepted the water and gladly drank it.

She then took us on a wonderful tour of this beautiful campus. In the golf cart, we meandered along small paths set between manicured lawns and native Hawaiian landscaping. Students walked in orderly fashion along the same paths. Not one student had baggy pants or baseball caps turned backwards. I saw no ear buds hanging in ears and attached to iPods. No school bells rang either. It was very peaceful.

The track and field area is huge! We remarked it was nicer than USC's track. We passed the swimming pool, the original stone buildings from when Punahou was a boys college and the music hall. We ate lunch in the cafeteria, where we sat outside on the balcony, smelling the plumeria trees below us.

We walked across the basketball court. We knew Punahou had won many athletic championships and awards, but the gym was absent of any banners or flags. Our friend informed us that Punahou emphasizes character building, and humility is one of the characteristics. "We definitely let our athletes know we are proud of them, but we don't need to brag."

Every elementary, middle and high school I could think of on the mainland definitely bragged about accomplishments, but then, they also needed funding. Achievement and funding go hand-in-hand. So how did Punahou get funding? I asked my basketball girl/Obama schoolmate friend. She said their yearly carnival makes over a million dollars for the school. From a carnival! Whatever they do, they're doing it right.

As a former public school teacher, I am a firm believer that every child in this country is entitled to a free public education. Education is the way out of poverty. Education is the path to making wise choices based on one's own situations in life.
What about the children of Hawaii who have potential but don't have the means to attend Punahou? They offer scholarships. Of course. With a million dollars from a carnival fundraiser, I guess they can offer many scholarships.

We then went to the Luke Center for Public Service. They were gearing up for a book drive for children in the neighborhood; a teaching in-service for all teachers in Honolulu, not just Punahou teachers, and they offered a writing center to help students with their writing....hold on.... a writing center? Sign me up!

My only question, how does a student whose parents either don't know, or don't care, get a chance at a Punahou scholarship?

My thoughts turned to volunteering at a public school instead. When I mentioned this to a few people, they discouraged me. "You don't know the students at public school here and how they are." I was told. "Be careful for your safety," another said.
Really? I taught in some tough neighborhoods in California. "Yes, but Hawaii culture is different," I was told.

I'll have to research this some more. If true, Punahou - want a former teacher to volunteer with students?

One last comment about the President's origin of birth. I sat in a Walgreens in Honolulu waiting for my prescription to be filled. A woman from the East Coast was talking to the pharmacist about getting a refill. She had two prescriptions. One from an urgent care doctor she had seen here, another from her primary care doctor. The pharmacist asked her about the prescription from her primary care doctor. The woman's response, "You mean my doctor back in the States?"

"Back in the States" - Maybe the birthers are on to something...I guess Hawaii isn't a state in the United States? I'll have to tell the people at Iolani Palace so they can change their tour information on the overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy and on the making of Hawaii statehood.