Hi, I'm Andrew Darcy. My wife and I have been garden adoptees with Friends For Fitness for about 2 years. Unfortunately, Covid-19 put a damper on 2020 and we were unable to take care of our garden area. When I returned to our garden in January of 2021, it was overgrown with weeds, the bugs and spiders had built high-end condo resorts, and there was trash tucked away in bushes. It was discouraging.
My wife and I jumped in and put the spider resorts out of business before conquering the rest of the garden. It took over two weeks to remove most of the weeds, but our hard work resulted in a glorious dirt canvas that awaited color and texture. I brought in some lava rocks, sifted soil, tried different layouts, and had this grandiose plan to remove the overgrown, aggressive bromeliads that lined the front half of the garden. It's now three months later and the bromeliads are almost gone! (Insert eye roll here.) Our garden area has come a long way and it's certainly been a learning experience. We are originally from New England so it was a reality check working with different types of plants and soil here in Hawaii. To my surprise, our garden area only has about 6 inches of dirt. I couldn't understand how a full-grown tree could be rooted in pahoehoe until I uncovered the horizontally growing roots. Not many of the trees in our area are anchored deep in the ground. Crazy!
It's taken patience, inspiration, and 80 juice boxes to keep me going with this garden. Juice boxes? Well, my Type One Diabetes has made me a very willing person and caring for this garden has been extremely beneficial as I seek better control of my diabetes. I get to be outside in this glorious Hawaiian weather during my free time while staying healthy creating a beautiful area for myself and others. Yes, at the beginning, my wife and I metaphorically pulled out each other's hair (and the birds would have made nests with it), but participating in Friends For Fitness has been so rewarding for my health and I enjoy being part of our local community recreational area.
I have had the chance to meet new people at the path, socially distant of course, and I am inspired by all the compliments and questions I receive about the volunteer work I do. It's nice to see regular exercisers at the path noticing positive changes in the garden and around the path as a whole. When community members join together we see immediate results that would take much longer if we single-handedly took the whole project on ourselves. One day of community volunteer work at the Maka'eo Walking Path will drastically improve the beauty of this path. Adopting a garden area, as my wife and I have, provides the path with individuality and a chance to be maintained regularly. Community participation, volunteers, and adoptees keep the Maka'eo Walking Path a beautiful, safe, and desirable place to use daily.
On behalf of Friends For Fitness, I would like to send out a huge mahalo to all participants, volunteers, organizations, businesses, church groups, high school students, and donors for all of the selfless time and energy you have put in over the past 20 or so years.
If you feel inspired and would like to volunteer or adopt a garden, feel free to call Betty at 808-329-5519 to adopt a garden or contact Andrew on Facebook, Instagram, or by sending an email to email@example.com for more information.
Hope to see you around!