> Barge Day in Kalaupapa

Barge Day in Kalaupapa

September 24, 2021

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By S. Alicia Damien Lau

We remembered 20 years ago on 9/11 and prayed for all the people who were impacted by events at the World Trade Center as all of Kalaupapa waited patiently for the annual barge to arrive from Honolulu. In the past, it would arrive at 7:30 a.m.; once docked, all items would be slowly and carefully taken off. Cars, gravel for the Damien Road, food/paper items for the Kalaupapa store, appliances, and gas for the cars and weed-whackers, etc. Yes, only once a year, our gas comes in.

This year, the escort boat arrived by 7:30 a.m.; however, the barge was seen at the horizon at 8:30 a.m. and everyone watched it slowly come in. For some reason, it took forever! It finally docked at noon and by 2 p.m., all items were unloaded. Watching the gas trucks drive off the barge and head for the gas station, is a relief to know that we will have gas for another year. After everything is taken off the barge, the process begins of putting old and broken cars, equipment, appliances, recyclables, etc. on board. Everyone worked all day, moving the heavy items with heavy equipment. Then the barge departed to return to Honolulu, leaving Kalaupapa at around 6:30 p.m.

For the first time since 1888, the Sisters of St. Francis purchased an appliance — a dryer. In the past, the Board of Health, then the Department of Health and National Park Service, provided all of our appliances: refrigerator, stove, washer/dryer, freezer, etc. Last year our dryer broke down and it was temporarily fixed. We had to wait for a year to have a new one brought in and installed.

“All good things will come to those who wait.”