One bright early morning we headed to North Shore where we got to see a new part of Hawaii. It had different things to offer and we were excited to check it all out. Even in Honolulu we noticed some food trucks around and even though we heard only great things about them, the concept of the food being on the truck and served to us was still a little weird! When it came lunchtime, we, along with the rest of our group, decided to give the food trucks a try. The pricing was reasonable and came with a bunch of food and sides. Between the two of us, we had garlic shrimp, lots of rice, salad and coke.We were both very satisfied! Although they did not bring our food out at the same time, which happened at most places we ordered food yet, it was well worth the wait. This truck pictured above is the one we stopped at in North Shore and this particular company called “Blue Water Shrimp and Seafood Co. ” has multiple trucks around Hawaii. We happened to be the only ones eating there at the time but I’m sure it gets plenty of business. We ate just behind the truck which was a covered area with tables. It was nice to be in the shade after a long day in the sun but we all noticed there were quite a bit of bugs annoying us.This was both of our first times eating from a food truck. We will occasionally see some in Michigan but usually only for events and they are usually not seafood. It seemed risky but we both agree is was a great addition to our time in North Shore. Julie took this picture on July 21st. This next subject we both feel really strongly about. It’s both heartbreaking and unacceptable. The Palolo Library is the place where the students go to rent books and take them home. What the kids may not realize is how risky something as simple as that can be with the condition of these books and the library as a whole.Everything about the place needed help. The walls and ceiling needed cleaning. The shelves needed to be emptied, scrubbed and washed down. The books needed to be sorted, inspected, cleaned, entered in the computer, put in alphabetical order and then back on the shelves. This took time even when there were multiple students working. It took away from our free time but we were happy to help. In the picture you will notice gloves and masks. This was mostly because of the mold that had started to form on most the books and shelves. There were also bugs everywhere, including in some books where you can clearly see they started to eat the pages.These are little kids who are taking back books with harmful mold to their families, which is not okay. We did not hear of any instances where a child was sick because of the library but in its condition, it is only a matter of time. We were able to clean books and shelves ridding it of the mold and dirt. We know our work was really appreciated and did not go unnoticed. Julie took this picture on July 23rd and there are many more like it of everyone at work but this one showed the most people all working together for a great cause. It was fun to be working there as well.We all got to talk about experiences and get to know each other while sorting through the books. We regret that we left an incomplete project but our time on the island was over before our work on the library was. We are both curious to see how it finally turns out once all the work is done. We hope the students in Hawaii were able to help out more since we could not. It was quite the cultural shock and even though this happens to be Hawaii’s situation, we are sure there are many areas like that in Michigan too. We plan on looking into it and helping out on a similar matter more locally.One of the days we talked about that really just stood out as being interesting was the day we met with the two Hawaiian activists who introduced us to some pretty awesome things. We went on a nice shady hike through a ton of bamboo, which was so cool to see in person as opposed to furniture, and even got to see and get chunks of cinnamon from cinnamon trees. It smelt amazing! Other cool things we saw on the hike were the different sacred areas and markings on rocks as well as the rock and stone house that was made in the middle of this forest.After the hike we were even able to cut down bamboo to create instruments to blow through, which proved to be trickier than we thought. It was amazing to be able to hike this land and see these things, but the activists also shared with us how people mistreat and abuse this land. They showed us remnants of bon fires people have started and spray paint that lingered on the stone walls of the house and it is just sad because people passing through don’t know the significance of this land and the importance it is to Hawaiian culture.One of our absolute favorite days was the Saturday we spent at the community garden. The land was absolutely beautiful in the middle of a valley, all looked after by workers and members of the community. There were at least 100 volunteers that Saturday that we went which was so amazing to see. There were children, teens, middle-aged people, and even elderly there to dedicate a few hours to help out and volunteer their time. Before we all broke into groups to start our volunteer work, we all stood in a large circle.We went around, each stating our name and who we would like to be present with us during the day. We both thought that this was such a moving experience to hear from each individual and truly feel the genuine thought put into what everyone was saying was so nice. When we broke into groups, we both headed over to the kitchen with a group of ladies. Jesse was the head of this group and he was so nice to work with. Once we got into the kitchen we talked about the food we were going to make for lunch for all of the workers volunteering in the fields and other places, and the timeline we needed to finish by.It was fun to work with other people and actually physically find and use different items from the garden. All of the dishes smelled so wonderful and we were excited to try them all out! When it was time to eat, all of the volunteers met together to form a closing circle. Everyone went around and said something that they were grateful or thankful for which was again, so nice to hear. We appreciated the sincerity of these moments so much and loved being a part of such a hardworking and giving community of people. We were so fortunate to make some amazing friends during our time in Oahu.One of the coolest experiences that we had was when a few of our local friends brought us on an awesome hike down a steep clay hill where we had to use ropes to climb down. Once we got down there was the most amazing pond and waterfall that we got to climb. This led to another pond and another waterfall which we climbed and that led to the last pond and waterfall. This was a day straight out of a movie and unlike anything else we have ever seen or experienced. Meeting local people changed our whole trip because we got to see and do things we could have never dreamed of seeing or doing without them.This day and that memory of the challenging hike and amazing waterfall is one that we will never ever forget. One of our final days in Hawaii was so special and will forever resonate with us and remind us of how lucky we are to have experienced Hawaii as a whole. Our day began at 4 am and even though that is very early, we were still up and ready to go due to the excitement of the day’s activities. We were heading to Koko Head to hike and see the sunrise with our local friend Brian. He was nice enough to pick us up along with other classmates and take us to the trail. It is a rough 1400 stairs to the top.At times there was some serious doubt we would make it to the top, but after several breaks we both did it! It was extremely tiring yet incredibly worth it. We just barely beat the sunrise and were able to capture some great pictures throughout the whole experience. We are so glad we met Brian because it is not every day you meet a genuine person who is willing to go out of his way to make you have fun. He and his friends took us on many adventures and we would not have had the same experience without them. We never would have went to Koko Head and gotten to see the sunrise.It was even more special because we had all really wanted to go on the other island but it didn’t work out so this was the substitute and it ended up being more beautiful then we thought possible. Brian took this picture very early for us August 1st on the top of Koko Head. Even though you can’t see our faces we think the silhouette makes it look really unique and really highlights the Spartan flag! This was the ultimate cultural experience because you can see so many parts of Hawaii. From the top we saw mountains, valleys, beaches, cities, and so many places we had been all from so high up.