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My Special Place

My Special Place

When the closure first happened, I like everyone else felt so uncertain of the future. Was this really happening? I didn’t know how to adjust to the many changes that came.  

  • Stay at home; 
  • wear a mask;  
  • school is online; 
  • say goodbye to loved ones as they return home;
  • and then I was being told I had to stay away from people not in my house?  

Not a good recipe for someone like me who is very social. I began to decline into…something I’d call “borderline depression” and something so new to me.  

collage of Tyrone learning how to operate equipment

(left to right) Tyrone learns to drive a forklift; Timotius Mocodompis (MPG) and Isikeli Fehoko (Canoe Guide) are trained on a scissor lift so that they can remove and store all of the Huki speakers; Yihang Peng (MPG) uses an excavator to dig a ditch.

After a few weeks, we were allowed to come back to PCC to work. And it was then that the Center truly became “my special place.” The Temple was closed and there was no church, yet at PCC, I realized I still had a place full of the spirit. I would come in earlier than my shift on random days and do my scripture study on the farm or by the Iosepa canoe. I would ponder during my assigned security shifts. This led me to see PCC through new eyes.  

In the last few months, I’ve found a new love for plants as we’ve become gardeners and landscapers…we’ve planted, watered, weeded, and pruned all around the Center.  I can put together and install any desk or table you want now as a handyman. I know every inch of PCC thanks to helping move offices and furniture EVERYWHERE. The list goes on as the opportunities have come to learn new skills.   

Showing off new floor cropped

Tyrone and his fellow guides, Meliana Helu and Chaille Kioa, who are assigned during our shutdown as workmates, proudly showing the new floor they installed.

The closure has been a blessing in disguise for me. I am so blessed to be able to give back to the Center that has given so much to my family for generations. Right now, every maintenance and beautification project is part of the baptism of the Polynesian Cultural Center. Our PCC will have a fresh look, an Ohana of staff with a deeper appreciation, and a chance at a new life.  I can’t wait for that one, sweet day we open. “My special place” will be ready to be the world’s “special place” once again.