April 13, 2012. Our friends invited us to Kalaupapa, Molokai for the day, and we quickly agreed to go. Kalaupapa only allows 100 visitors on the island per day, and you can only tour the island with a tour group or by permit with a local sponsor. This was our oppourtunity to see “old Hawaii” and learn about Hawaiian culture and history.
In the late 18oos, residents of Hawaii who were diagnosed with Hansen’s disease (leprosy) were forced into exile on the Kalaupapa Peninsula. The forced isolation ended in 1949 after proper diagnosis and treatment was established. Many residents decided to stay in Kalaupapa even after the exile was lifted.
Approximately 8,000 patients lived and died in Kalaupapa over the years. Today, there are only 18 residents on the island from the early days. The island has about 200 residents who are mostly government workers who run and caretake the island.
Eight of us made the trip on two different 4 seater prop planes. While on the island, we got to explore this peaceful and spiritual place. We visited churches, sacred grave sites, spectacular view points, the remains of the U.S. Investigation Station, Kauhako Crater, and other memorable spots.
I can’t explain to you in words the beauty and magnitude of this special part of Molokai. This is what a place looks like that is untouched by modern society and greed. Kalaupapa embraces simplicity, tradition and strives to honor and protect the land.
I have never been in a place where the energy exudes harmony, the streets are dead quiet, animals are free to roam, dogs don’t bark, no one is surfing the epic surf breaks, and there is more fruit on the trees then people can eat.
Being on this island, time seemed to stand still, we learned about the land, and really got to enjoy it. I am very thankful to our host and guide, Bobby and Luana for showing us around, educating us, and allowing us to be able to visit Kalaupapa.
The conservation and preservation of Kalaupapa is a must. I truly hope that Kalaupapa will stay a quaint, undeveloped place so future generations will be able to experience this peaceful and sacred land.