Saying Mahalo with Chef Ed Kenney at Mud Hen Water Restaurant
Joyful Heart’s Mahalo Dinner is a celebratory evening to express our gratitude to the bright lights—partners, supporters, board members, volunteers—who share our commitment to and vision of a world free from sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. The intimate dinner, held a few days before our Joyful Mele Gala, brings together new friends and old as we acknowledge our founder, Mariska Hargitay, and the meaningful changes we are creating with the courageous individuals who have joined our work in Hawai‘i.
In the days before our event this year, the weather forecast expected Tropical Storms Madeline and Lester to bring wind and rain to Oahu on Friday and throughout the weekend. With the winds blowing and clouds looming, our friends Chef Ed Kenney and his wife Spanky graciously offered us shelter from the storm at Chef Ed’s Mud Hen Water restaurant. We are so deeply grateful to them for giving us such a beautiful place to share a festive evening of music and connection. In case you are wondering about the name, Mud Hen Water comes from the translation of Wai‘alae, the street the restaurant is located on—Wai means fresh water and ‘Alae is the mud hen, an endangered species of waterfowl—the watering hole where the mud hen gathers.
Before cocktails and dinner, we gathered with our fellow members of the Hawai‘i Says NO MORE Core Team and some special guests at Chef Ed’s Kaimukī Superette, next door to Mud Hen Water, for a preview of the Hawai’i Says NO MORE PSAs. The Core Team guides the Hawai‘i Says No More initiative and its members represent Catholic Charities Hawai‘i, Child & Family Service, Hawaii State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women, Hawaii Youth Services Network, Parents And Children Together, State of Hawaii Department of the Attorney General, State of Hawai‘i Department of Human Services, The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, Student Health and Wellness Programs, The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Office of Gender Equity, The University of Hawai‘i System Office of Institutional Equity, Windward Spouse Abuse Shelter, Women Helping Women Maui and Lana‘i, and YWCA of O‘ahu. Kata Issari, Joyful Heart’s Executive Director for Hawai’i welcomed everyone and introduced the PSAs. Following the screening, Mariska expressed her gratitude to the Core Team members and shared a few words about her experience directing these PSAs. Then, we moved next door to join the guests who were starting to gather for cocktails at Mud Hen Water.
Kata and Mariska welcomed guests and Adrian Kamali‘i, a member of our Hawai‘i Advisory Committee, blessed us with an opening oli (chant). While musicians Frank, Moe & Manea Manuma played, we dined on Chef Ed’s delicious meal of: warm salad of fingerling potato, watercress, and ricotta; pohole with sesame, tomato, and crispy shrimp; grilled long bean with brown garlic, roast chicken with cilantro chutney, porchetta with polenta, and grilled a'u ku brochettes with cucumber yogurt.
After dessert, everyone was invited to write one word expressing their hope for the future on a strip of cloth and add it to the tail of a kite (representing alerting the community that the conditions are right for positive change) that was designed and donated by local artist Harinani Orme. Raúl Esparza then spontaneously joined the band for a few numbers, to the joy of everyone in the room.