> Kalaupapa – Live Each Moment to the Fullest

Kalaupapa – Live Each Moment to the Fullest


By S. Alicia Damien Lau


You can look at a glass of water: is it half full or half empty? Your Creator can throw lemons at you, and everything goes wrong; you can sulk or make lemonade. What would you do if the Lord sent you high surf, heavy winds, lots of rain, and it is damp and cold? You can wrap yourself in a warm blanket and feel down, wishing for better weather. This is what it is today. Our oldest patient (ninety-nine years and ten months young) set out on a mission to find me. He found me with a customer at the Kalaupapa Bookstore. He looked disappointed that I was working. Standing in the freezing wind and damp grass, I only wanted to curl up in my electric blanket, but I said, “Do you want me to go with you?” He said yes! So, I hurried with my last customer, locked up and headed for his house.

Getting into his car (yes, he is still driving), we headed past the airport and to the North Shore. At the end of the runway, the waves were over 50 ft. high, crashing against the lava rocks like we had never seen before. Oh, what a beautiful sight! We sat there admiring what the Lord sent us. The Lord was filling all the rocks and ponds with salt water so that we would harvest Kalaupapa salt in June.

Driving along the shoreline, we stopped and watched the ocean splash along the rocks. Looking toward the mountains, I noticed more rain coming from the East.

Driving to Kalawao, more of God’s beauty was all around. Where else can you drive, passing no cars and going whatever speed you want, just admiring the scenery? Listening to the stories of the past brings Kalaupapa and all the people closer to reality. As we drove, you would see the little wild piglets trying to run from the speeding car; the deer were out in full force along the fields, just looking at us or running away.

At the lookout over the landing where the early patients got off the boat, I wondered how the boats could land in such high waves, ocean currents, and white caps.

As the wind strengthened, I remembered S. Leopoldina’s story in her journal. The wind was picking up in Kalaupapa; she said: “How interesting to watch it as it lifted patches of the water, whirling it in circles as it did the clay on the road, carrying it up from ten to twenty feet and scattering it with such force that one never could tell where it went. When we arrived home, the girls were enjoying this strange wind laughing and shouting through the yard. And our dear Mother was enjoying it with them. Mother, seeing the strange circles of leaves and dust, she at once joined the children making paper balloons and teaching them how to send them up, this being an interesting new sport. How they enjoyed it.”

Yes, enjoy the beautiful winter weather that our Creator sent us.