I have had the opportunity to go to Hawaii’s Plantation Village several times. On many of these occasions, I’ve been able to meet a different docent and hear new stories. This is what makes each visit new and exciting. Although we may be seeing the same houses, the stories that accompany them are unique and interesting. When the docents share the stories they have about growing up on the plantations or in the area, it’s like they are sharing a piece of themselves with you. Their stories are so genuine, authentic, and heartfelt that you can’t help but get pulled into history.
When I arrived last week Thursday for our excursion, I ran into Jeff Higa, director for the Village. As we were talking, Jeff mentioned that he received a sad call that day informing him that one of their docents was in the hospital. Jeff shared that phone calls like that were the worst part of his job. As his docents age, they are no longer able to share their stories and lead tours. More than a tour guide is lost. These docents become friends and family, and their absence is truly felt by all.
Hearing this was a reminder of how important it is to treasure the stories that they share. These oral histories are precious. If they are not recorded, the stories will disappear with the story teller, and it’s like a piece of history is gone forever.
It made me wonder how many of us really know our own family’s histories. How often do we really sit down to talk to our grandparents to learn about where we came from? I was just asked yesterday how long my family has been in America. Thankfully, through various school projects, I did sit down with my grandparents to learn where we came from before they passed away. But what about my children? If I don’t share it with them, and I don’t make it important to them, they will never know. Today was a great reminder of how important it is to treasure the past as we move forward into the future. How can we build upon a foundation if we don’t know what it is or how it got there?
Thursday was a good day, and I truly appreciate the time that our docent, Brenda, spent with us. She has a true love of Hawaii and its people, and we were very lucky to have met her.
~ Nicole Ng, Marketing Manager