A healing fruit in paradise

Authored by:
Jan Steffen P.

Jan Steffen P.

I'm looking around. Slowly trickles dusk into the studio that I'm renting. A big, comfy queen bed, a maroon, uncomfy couch, wooden dinner table, pretty noisy fridge. There's a  touch of dark green in the room. Another day in paradise accomplished.

I'm in Kilauea town, on the island of Kaua'i, one of the Western Hawaiian islands. I'm worked from the day at my job. It's a trainee at Hawaiian Organic Noni. This family farm enterprise grows a quite unusual fruit. It is funny shaped, very smelly and rots within 48 hours after you pick it. ..The heck?

The name of the tree we're talking about is morinda citrofolia, or noni tree. A noni fruit is incredibly unstable, but highly medicinal. Pain relieving, strong anti inflammatory compounds, cell growth stimulating, large ORAC antioxidant value.. Almost too good to be true. The only problem: The fruit ferments. It ferments very fast. The fermentation process creates alcohol and formaldehyde, both kills the potency of noni. It's medicine you can't ship or even buy in any local supermarket or pharmacy. Everybody would leave the store, an overripe noni smells very bad, basically like your dirty, rotten socks. This is when the noni farm steps into the game (and it's before the rotten socks part): It took the Fraileys family years of trial and error to find a way to stabilise the pulp of the noni fruit without destroying the beneficial compounds. How? Well so much, they dehyrate the fruit at low temperature. I'll be part of team noni for a year and a half, hoping to obtain a number of skills around sustainable management.

It's pretty neat here. I had a marvellous salad creation today for lunch, with greens bought from local biodynamic farmers. Greens, planted and harvested in alignment with cosmic rhythms like moon phases. Organic nutrition lifted to a whole new level. Oh and for dessert Ruffles Hot Wings Flavoured Potato Chips. Good lord, what a beautiful country.

Here's more info about biodynamics

The other day my colleague Dyl took me to Kahili beach, we went surfing. Beyond magic, in this strange, though familiar element, turquoise and fresh. Without comment the wave rises in front of you, up and up, just to slowly bend and fall. You're in it, on it, paddling with strong strokes. She lifts you up, then you start gliding. In less than a blink you're on your feet, find control, balance, to speed a crashing mountain of water downhill. Such intimacy while absolutely being focused in the moment. Humbling.

Then there's full moon parties, small hippie raves at the beach. Bonfire, often the same, familiar faces. It's small here. We'll see what happens next.

Click here for some music that I'm picking up on the way through everydays life in the jungle.

JSP

Make sure to check the Exchanges Blog regularly to read more about Steffen's experience!

For more information on the CIEE Professional Career Training USA program, please visit our website.

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