Bringing the Hula To Off-Island Inmates

Ethel Kubo
Ethel Kubo
Hai Okimoto
Hai Okimoto

(KHNL) - A group of Oahu women are heading to a remote prison in Kentucky after hearing about the nearly two hundred Hawaii inmates housed there.

Some never get visitors from the islands. But that will change for all the inmates at the Otter Creek Correctional Center.

The women of the Master's Touch Hula Ministry are working hard as they get ready for an important mission. Traveling to a remote area of Kentucky, to perform for 174 Hawaii women incarcerated there.

"They haven't had visitors because they are in such a remote area and we just wanted to go and let them know they are not forgotten." says Ethel Kubo, with the Hula Ministry.

They will be performing for the inmates as well as "with" the women, there is a 40 member hula halau at the prison.

So these Oahu women are bringing pa'u skirts for each of the dancers. Along with baking thousands of cookies and packing island snacks and food, as reminders of home.

But just as important, these women will also be sharing the aloha spirit.

"Here is something we enjoy doing, hula , and can do to support the women who are there." says dancer, Hae Okimoto.

After an inspirational performance for the inmates with Gay Hongo and her husband this Monday, these women will return on Tuesday, to meet with the prison halau and share a special chant created just for the women inmates.

A chant that stresses the importance of changing their lives for the better.

"As their lives continue, at some point they might remember the spirit of aloha we showed, and if they are given the opportunity to change it will inspire them to change." adds Okimoto.

The group will leave Thursday for their trip, and they are nervous, about the upcoming performance with the inmates, after all, they've never been to a prison before. But it makes them feel better to know, the inmates are also nervous about performing for the group that came thousands of miles to see them.