So when kids find out that Hōkūleʻa doesn’t have a head (waʻa/sailor language for bathroom) by far, their favorite question is “So… how do you use the bathroom?!” I’m still trying to figure out a better way to explain this, but I think you will truly only understand by doing it. Ma ka hana ka ‘ike. I mention how in less than 30 minutes we’re already talking about personal topics that may night even talk to their families about. One boy even asked in a very concerned tone, “So what happens if girls have their maʻi?” He hesitated to ask the question because he thought it was inappropriate. He must have a sister. I told him, that’s why showing respect and giving everyone the space they need is important. It’s a great example of how the crew can get very close in a short amount of time. There’s hardly any personal space, so when crew members know someone is using the bathroom, we just look forward. While using the head, pay attention to the wind. You don’t want anything flying back at you. One of my high school students has learned from first-hand experience that this is also helpful if you get seasick and need to throw up. This is a fun conversation, and it’s necessary to remind students of the gravity of the situation. The most likely man overboard situation would likely arise from a sailor failing to strap in or secure herself while using the bathroom or vomiting.
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