Mud, Mud Everywhere and Rotarians out in the middle of it

Rotarians from three different Oahu clubs came together to help in the recovery from damaging floods.  Responding to an urgent call for help, Rotarians from Hawaii Kai, West Pearl Harbor, and Metropolitan Honolulu Clubs met at a northern Oahu farm greatly affected by flood waters and rivers of mud.


The Green Growers farm in Hauula has been an asset to the local agricultural economy since the 1950’s. Terry Shintaku’s father bought the land in 1954 and it has been producing ever since. Terry, a local boy with a degree in agriculture, has continued in his father’s footsteps producing vine-ripened Beefsteak tomatoes and also lettuce. Most of this product goes to local restaurants, many of which are big names in Hawaii’s gastronomic scene. Private families can get their produce there too.

The recent devastating rains brought streams of water and mud running through Terri’s tomatoes and lettuce beds. In addition to destroying a good part of the crop, equipment and material were displaced, creating a scene of chaos caked with tons of mud.

In order to get the farm back on its feet, Rotarians and their guests joined Terri and his small staff in clearing the area of debris and trying to bring back a sense of order.  Irrigation pipes were collected and stacked, truckloads of plastic sheets used in the tomato beds had been torn away, covered in mud by the flood waters and had to be gathered and loaded for removal.  Debris was everywhere.

This all involved a lot of slipping and sliding in the fresh mud. Shoes would get stuck in the muck, most will never be serviceable again. Gloves were at a premium, and kept hands somewhat clean while arms, face, and clothing became covered with the ubiquitous mud. Laughs were everywhere.

After hours of such work, all the volunteers remained happy and chipper, some commenting how they used to love playing in the mud as children. Terri and his crew were most gracious hosts and treated the volunteers to a great lunch of Rice, Chile con Carne, and home-made cookies. The Rotarians left happy to have been of service to the community, and with a full belly too!!

Connections were made among Rotarians who had not met before and ideas for future joint service projects were discussed. As usual, it’s hard to say who benefitted most from these service projects given that the Rotarians made numerous new friends, expanded their personal and Rotary network, and left satisfied of having been of service.