"Heart of Aloha"

art-HeartofAloha-MikaHarmony 9"x11" Watercolor on cold press watercolor paper Price: $150 Mika Harmony 9/2023

I will be selling this painting with 100% of proceeds going to Maui Humane Society and Maui Strong Foundation


“Sharing The Aloha”

By Mika Harmony

Out on the edges of despair and grief, a moment of hope. She fills her cardboard box with blueberries, butter lettuce, tomatoes, an astonishing abundance of microgreens- a niche luxury during such a surreal catastrophe- a flashlight, safety gloves, and maxi-pads.

“Aunty, take some avocados too- get plenny stuffs”, says the young man manning the produce as he sits on his plastic fold out chair.

She isn’t his Aunty but in Hawai’i everyone is ‘Ohana, family, and the level of caring for your neighbor only increases during these tragic times.

This way station of goods and groceries set up overnight to help these people evacuated from their homes or what used to be their homes. A fire ravaged their community, their home of Lahaina.

Stationed in Napili on the sidewalk of a tropical strip mall that includes a hair salon, a restaurant that serves the island’s best tacos, a surf shop, an actual grocery store, and a coffee shop, the community created an instant center of hope and necessities. These volunteers drive in supplies from the other side of the island- Kihei, Kahului, Wailuku, Pukalani. Supplies donated from restaurants clearing out their walk-in refrigerators, local farms, other grocery stores, local nonprofits, and other neighbors, or mainland FedEx parcels sent from former residents aching to help in any way possible.

This overnight system of commerce where payment is made with a smile, or a hug, or if all you have the emotional strength to commit to is the familiar and friendly greeting of a chin nod, that counts too.

“Uncle, no forget grab some food for Jake”, says the young man to his next shopper. Again, not his uncle, and Jake being the name of the brown and black mix labrador retriever-sized poi dog on the leash beside “Uncle", eyeing the donated blue and yellow cans of wet dog food.

There is caring for everyone. Those who have nothing left, give their time. Everyone is equal here- except those unaccounted for. They must be given extra time, love, and attention to.

There aren’t any aisles for these goods, but these essentials are just as important. A lifeline to normalcy. A box of a favorite cereal for the keiki, the kids, perhaps brings a morsel of comfort before all of the chaos began.

Behind these volunteer vendors are printed 81/2 x 11 copy paper posters for Lahaina’s missing. Loved ones and neighbors- Some are accounted for in shelters, some in hospitals, and others we don’t know where they are but we know them and love them dearly- your former babysitter from years ago, your classmate’s dad, your brother’s best friend from elementary school, the Uncle who was a security guard and walked you to your car at night when you got your first job at 16 at Whaler’s Village in Ka’anapali. Everyone missing belongs to someone's heart.

Across the parking lot are a group of five people sitting in a semi-circle on the Bermuda grass median with plumeria laid atop opened brown paper grocery bags strewn at their feet. Plumeria from the yards of the few houses remaining standing after the fire or their neighbors from the other side of the island. Flowers gathered in the early morning hours with dew still on their petals and a mild cool clinging to the morning air before the heat begins.

The group of five string those lei as a symbol of strength, caring, and love. As each lei maker pierces the center of the yellow and white, or pink, velvety petaled plumeria and stack them up in a 14” row on their long lei needle, they trade stories of better times. Their pleasant soft tones of reverence punctuated with moments of loud laughter or soft tears depending on the memory. There will be singing later on as they continue rhythmically moving their hands in time with each other- reach for plumeria, pierce and push onto the steel needle, and again reach for the plumeria and repeating until they fill the length of the needle, and then push down onto the string.

With each flower added to their lei they weave in these memories so it is never forgotten where they come from and where they are going even stronger. Once tied, the Lei, creating an unbroken infinity loop of floral kindness, healing, and care to be placed on the shoulders of their ‘Ohana with an embrace of understanding. Sharing the aloha.

Hug your loved ones, and please Help Maui.

With deep love and Aloha,

Mika Harmony

Mika is originally from Lahaina, Maui