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I find it an honor and a responsibility when people choose me to help them.
My name is Rhonda Kamai-Kekela.
I am a Native Hawaiian who was born and raised primarily in Hawai'i, and lived a brief 5 years in Orem and Vernal, Utah from 9-14 years old. My parent's wanted their children to experience the "mainland" and get away from the political struggles on the islands at the time; little did they know that moving to Utah would bring about new and unexpected challenges- those challenges paved the path to the career choice I am in today.
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I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I completed my Graduate studies and received my Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa and Baccalaureate's Degrees in Sociology, Psychology and minor studies in Biology from the University of Hawai'i at Hilo.
I am an EMDRIA Trainer and EMDR Consultant and Training Facilitator for EMDR Institute and EMDR- Humanitarian Assistance Program (HAP). I am the only Certified EMDR therapist in the Tri-county area of Uintah, Daggett and Duchesne in over 127 miles and the only Department of Transportation Substance Abuse Professional (DOT SAP) within 151 miles.
Initially I wanted to be a neurosurgeon. I was by no-means a genius, but highly persistent and motivated. I was a non-traditional student meaning, I didn't go to college right out of high school. Instead I got married and had a family first, and that's when I decided to go back to school. I love being a wife and mother, but my soul longed to do more. I would spend endless nights with my kids, helping them with their homework and being in the thinking mind-set, I aspired to advance my own education.
I remember the day that changed my career path as if it were yesterday. My family and I were in Kailua-Kona at a paddling regatta (canoe races), me and the kids were racing in. After the race, we went back to the hotel and my husband and kids were swimming at the pool. Meanwhile, I was in the hotel room studying and working on a project. The night before, I was in the lab with my physics study-group working on a project that lasted most of the evening. I was tired and exhausted from the races and the late night in the lab with my group, but that day, it dawned on me, that this would be the beginning of spending long hours and days away from my family. I resigned to the fact that this was only the beginning of what my future would hold if I wanted to be a surgeon. The next semester I began taking soft-science courses, which gradually lead to what I do today.
THE MOVE TO VERNAL
I am often asked, "What brought you to Vernal?" Why not Vernal, is my thought. Sure, its much drier than the humid climates of Hawai'i, and the water here is significantly different- the ocean makes me buoyant and floating on the water surface is almost effortless, but the lakes make me sink like a ton of bricks. Truth be known, while living in Vernal when I was younger, my older siblings married and settled down with local Vernal residents, so visiting Utah, particularly Vernal, was an already familiar and comfortable place to be.
Another added feature living in Vernal is the great outdoors. The rolling hills and (Blue) mountain peaks remind me of the backbone of the Hawaiian islands- kind of. The immense landscape that stretch beyond what the eye can see is so entrancing to look at. And of course, the 4 seasons bring about opportunity for different outdoor activities.
People often think that Hawaii has one season and a minimal variance in temperature, but that's not as true as you'd think. The "Big Island" as it is fondly referred to by the locals, a.ka. Hawai'i, is known for its erupting volcano and snow covered peaks of Mauna kea Summit- which is the backdrop of this box. Yes, it snows in Hawaii too. In the same day you can drive to the Mauna kea summit and play in the snow, then drive down the range to the ocean and body surf. Hawai'i in all its beauty is not only present on the island, but also within the people of the island.
Vernal has provided my family and I a welcoming and pleasant experience. The people here have been gracious in helping us acclimate and become more accustomed to local culture and traditions. Although I have not been hunting, it is a customary practice that I can relate to as a Hawaiian. I believe that when we take the flesh of an animal and the animal has spared its life, in return, we honor that life by being a gentle imprint on this earth and give to others and be a better part of living and co-existing as one with nature and man, almost like paying it forward. I still continue to learn how to integrate my traditional Hawaiian values and Western-mainland customs and appreciate any opportunity to learn and grow.