The Story of Lata explores the efforts by the people of a remote part of Solomon Islands to preserve their traditional boat building culture and navigation. It explores traditional Polynesian navigation in a region where the technology and knowledge is still intact. We listen to the older women who remember the old days of sailing, and who consider their role were this tradition to be revived. And we also consider the reality of modern life, which they are slowly being required to adapt to. How feasible is it to revive these ancient arts, which take time to learn?
Along the Thai-Burma border, we meet the women peace activists working in the midst of the world’s longest running civil war. In the Karen language, Kawthoolei is the name of a mythical homeland in eastern Burma (Myanmar). The Karen people have been struggling for control of this land for nearly 60 years. This conflict between the Burmese military regime and the Karen National Union is now considered the world’s longest running civil war. There are numerous reports of ethnic cleansing, and hundreds of thousands of Burmese and ethnic refugees have flooded western Thailand, yet this conflict is often overlooked by the western media.
In January of 2005 our team travelled to Cambodia to meet Chanthol Oung, the head of the Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center, a grassroots organization dedicated to preventing violence against women, and working to stop the illegal sale of young women into the sex industry. We talked to a number of young women who told us their stories of having been sold into brothels, and who had managed to escape. They also told us about what they are doing with their lives now.
In “The Hula Lesson” we join Hawaiian Hula teacher Roselle Bailey and her multicultural halau to find out what hula is, what it means to Hawaii, and why so many non-Hawaiians love it. Hula is more than girls dancing with coconut bras and grass skirts, with strains of Don Ho in the background. In fact, hula is a complete expression of a traditional culture, which uses dancing and singing for teaching social lessons, and for recounting history.