What was your experience at Kanekiki like overall? Did you feel like it was beneficial towards your journey? What did you learn while you were there?
My experience at Kanekiki was incredible. When looking back on that period of my life, it is clear that I was at my personal best during that time (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually). It was eye opening to see how easily my health sky rocketed when I was surrounded by a community of likeminded individuals. The people who I lived with at Kanekiki were not only interested in eating healthfully, but also living alternatively, having deep & meaningful conversations, and being a positive influence for others. One of the most important things that I personally learned at Kanekiki is the importance of PLAY and REST. Being a passionate business owner and somewhat of a workaholic, while living at Kanekiki it became clear that I was really neglecting important parts of my life. I learned to take breaks from my projects and get out in the sun, connect with others, and simply do NOTHING. The concept of doing nothing is often shunned from our society today and looked upon as laziness but I learned that doing nothing is actually incredibly proactive when it comes to de-stressing, experiencing personal growth, and allowing creative thoughts to flow freely.
Did you do a work trade, or an internship, or both? Was it difficult? Like very physically demanding? (I am pretty athletic and strong, but the website makes it sound REALLY taxing.)
During my stay at Kanekiki I was an intern. This means that for the first 2 weeks of my stay, I was working for 4 hours (Monday-Friday) on the land. I did a variety of tasks including watering in the greenhouse, cutting back brush along fences, organizing and cleaning the kitchen, planting in the greenhouse, weeding, clearing grown in patches around pineapples, harvesting coconuts, etc. When moving from a temperate environment to a tropical environment, there is certainly a difference in the difficulty of the work. Though even with the change in climate I did not find the work unbearably difficult. The exciting part of working at Kanekiki is that to an extent – you get to choose the tasks you do each day. Of course there are projects and requirements that you will be asked to complete, but if you have a preference to do something else, just simply speak up and communicate your wants and needs. Kanekiki is all about communication. It did not take long for me to realize that I did not particularly like pulling weeds and clearing fences/around plants. I enjoyed planting, watering, cleaning, organizing, and more domestic chores in general. After speaking up and expressing my wishes to stop doing certain tasks, I had a much more enjoyable time working. For the next 4 weeks of my internship program, I worked 2 hours on the land/greenhouse/kitchen, and the other 2 hours on a personal project. The personal project can be for anything you want! Here are some examples of what some individuals chose to work on… painting a Kanekiki sign, creating a map of the property, building a screen-house, working on health (exercising daily, journaling, learning to play an instrument, etc.), creating a program to help people transition to a vegan diet, etc.
Do you have any free time on the weekends to explore, etc.?
Yes! Whenever you are not working there is time to explore! The typical hours of farm work are 7am-11am so after work you really have the entire day to do what you please. There are a variety of swimming holes and beaches within just a few miles of Kanekiki. Biking would be an ideal form of transportation during your stay. Hitchhiking is also very common. You will be encouraged to join the Kanekiki community in a trip to the local Farmers Market on Saturday or Sunday to pick up a few food items because the farm is currently not producing enough fruits and veggies to provide 100% of everyone’s nutritional needs. When I stayed at the farm half of my food was from the land and the other half from the farmers market. Though since I have left they have been producing much more food. You can speak with Vicky, Bill, or Barb to see how much money you will need to budget for food each week.
How do the home arrangements work? Is it co-ed?
During my stay I was in a small hut with one other female. There are many huts at Kanekiki and they are only co-ed if you wish them to be. The huts have no electricity or running water. They are screened in and usually have 1-2 dressers. Though with the moisture in the air it is suggested that you store your clothing and electronics in an airtight plastic storage bit which the farm will give you upon your arrival. You will also be provided with your own sheets, blankets, and pillow during your stay at Kanekiki. The huts occupancy ranges from 1 to 4 individuals.
Was it difficult adjusting to the "rustic" way of life their?
It was not very tough for me to adjust. I had been camping a few times before and knew what it was like to live outside. One thing that immediately surprised me was that there were ants crawling around everywhere… on the floors, on the counters, everywhere! But as soon as I was told that they are harmless, it was very easy to just get used to it. Using a composting toilet wasn’t as difficult to adjust as I thought. There is toilet seat that you place on top of the toilet opening and it really isn’t too different from seating on a regular flush toilet. It did take a while for me to adjust to the fact that I could not pee in the composting toilet though. It was always natural for me to pee before pooping and I had to un-learn that pattern which I grew up doing. So what I started doing was simply going pee in the bushes first, and then going to the composting toilet. It was actually kind of fun being able to just pick a bush or tree anywhere on the property and pee there. I personally love living outside harmoniously with nature. P.S. there are tons of little green geckos in Hawaii and they are my absolute favorite part about living here. They’re so cute and love to eat fruit so you’ll have to always keep an eye on your food or they’ll come in and start licking if you walk away for a few moments.
What were the people who worked there like? How many work there at a time?
When I first stayed at Kanekiki there were 4-5 of us living there (plus Bill & Vicki). Towards the end of my stay Barb came back from a trip on the mainland and Katy + Tyler (Bill and Vicki’s grown children) also joined us. I really enjoyed that number of people living there. There was a sense of community, but being an introvert it was not overwhelming at all. Since I left, the community has certainly grown. There are 7 folks plus the Craine family (Bill, Vicki, Katy, Tyler). The number of people staying there is constantly changing. But one thing is always constant – the positive energy. During the application process, Barb and Vicki do a really thorough job of making sure that the individual wanting to join Kanekiki is a good fit for the community. It is a really special place and very, very conducive to healing, personal growth, and creating lifelong friendships.
How long did you stay for/why did you end up leaving?
I stayed at Kanekiki for 2 months (October & November) in the fall or 2015. I ended up leaving in Early December because I wanted to go on an adventure and explore the Island. Since leaving, I have ended up settling down for a few months on the other side of the island (Kona). But recently I have been longing for more deep connections like the ones I experienced at Kanekiki. So I may be going back to live there in the near future.