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Posts Tagged ‘Kapoho’

Our house lot is now under lava and with it, a Christmas Memory in summer.

 

A Kapoho Christmas

 

It was Christmas without lights.

It was Christmas without indoor plumbing.

It was Christmas without carolers at the window

Muffed and warm under falling snow.

 

But there was Christmas.

 

A Christmas program at school

Where the Holy Night reenacted:

White tissue paper glued on spines of coconut  fronds

Shaped as angel wings and halos.

Long white robes, over bare feet.

 

Santa Claus with bagfuls of hard mixed candies

Ho ho hoed by the plantation manager,

His yearly holiday role in the village where he reigned.

Fathers  in Sunday best

After a hard day’s work in sugar cane fields.

Children in home-sewn dresses and shirts.

 

A fir branch from the hills,

Needles not lasting 24 hours.

Chains from construction paper,

Origami balls, strands of tin-foiled tinsel.

Kerosene  and gas lamps

Moving shadows on the walls.

 

It was not the Christmas of my dreams.

No carolers at the window,

Singing O Holy Night.

No large presents under a Douglas Fir

No fireplaces and rooftop chimneys.

No blue-eyed  boy handing me hot chocolate.

 

For 18 years, the true Christmas

Lived in my head until Madame Pele

Came to my rescue

And buried our kerosene lamps.

 

“Finally,”  I said,

 

Running out fast —

My bare feet over pebbled, unpaved roads

To the Christmas of my dreams.

 

 

Frances Kakugawa

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Please check this site for two reasons:

  1. It takes Hawaii residents, local style,  to build 20 homes in a week for the evacuees. It takes a man called Gilbert to donate his property and his humanity to make this happen.
  2. Gilbert has a history with me. When he was born to immigrant parents, his father Alberto told me, “My son, he come lawyer someday.” I told him, “He can be anyone, Alberto, but be sure to raise a good man. A man who will return back to his people because our country has been good to us.”

When Gilbert was in middle school he told me he wants a shade job when he grows up. He has been working in his parents’ papaya fields since he could walk. He has his own electricity company today.

I will write up his story in more detail later, hopefull, for the press.

So Mr. Trump, what do you think of children of immigrant parents now?

Below is the site, where you can see the live coverage. I will also print out the story below the site.

http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/38389180/were-gonna-get-it-done-today-volunteers-put-finishing-touches-on-emergency-shelters-for-evacuees

While many opted to stay with friends, family or in a county-provided shelter, less-than optimal conditions have led residents to begin worrying about long term solutions to an ongoing problem.

Last Friday, a group of Big Island volunteers teamed up to begin prep work on a project to build 20 tiny homes that will give evacuees a private place to plan their next steps. And on Saturday, the group is nearly complete.

By the afternoon, volunteer workers, which included several men and women with construction backgrounds, already had roofs on the tops of micro shelters, which measure 10-feet by 12-feet with about 120 square feet of floor space.

The effort was made possible due to an emergency proclamation issued by Big Island Mayor Harry Kim.

“Some of us here have been directly affected by the lava, so we’re happy to be here and give back to the community,” said Dean Au, with Hawaii Carpenters Union.

The 20 micro shelters will fill an 8-acre plot of land behind Sacred Heart Church off Pahoa Village Road. Several community groups and businesses pitched in time, supplies and manpower, including Big Island Electrical Services, HPM Building Supply, and HOPE Services Hawaii, among others.

“(There is) a wide assortment of occupations from the national guard, the carpenters union, businesses and community volunteers, all of the contractors, it’s just incredible,” said Darryl Olivera, safety officer for HPM Building Supply.

Gilbert Aguinaldo, owner of Big Island Electrical Services, said that he has no doubt that all 20 micro shelters will be completed this weekend.

“I promise you, there is no excuse, we are going to put all these houses up today,” Aguinaldo said. “And when I say we’re gonna get it done today, we’re gonna get it done It today.”

Copyright 2018 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

 

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Our old house lot in Kapoho was covered with lava a few days ago. The poem below describes the original Kapoho of my childhood, not the current Kapoho:

 

Once There Was a Kapoho

 

Once there was a Kapoho

Where children played barefooted

Until the evening sun disappeared

And kerosene lamps and gas lamps

Beckoned each child home.

 

Once there was a Kapoho

Where outhouses and water tanks

Prominently stood as sentinels

And ohi’a firewood sent signals

Above rooftops, announcing

A hot furo* for the tired and the toiled.

 

Once there was a Kapoho

Where mothers pumping sewing machines

Marked the end of summer.

Homemade clothes and one-strapped schoolbags

For the first of September.

 

Once there was a Kapoho

Without television,

But battery-run radios,

Crackling “The Romance of Helen Trent,”

Dr. Malone and Arthur Godfrey.

 

Once there was a Kapoho

Without washing machines

But wooden washboards

Against concrete tubs

Slippery, muddy denims

Boiled in Saloon Pilot cans.

 

Once there was a place

Without shopping malls and Macy’s,

But catalogs from Sears and Montgomery Ward,

Dream-makers, before Charmin or MD.

Once there was Christmas without lights.

Yes, once there was a place

So simple and free

Where children swam in Warm Springs

And fished in Green Lake,

Played marbles and Ojame

And Steal Steal Stone.

 

Once there was a place

Where life went on without question.

Sons went off to war,

Teachers taught the 3 Rs

Parents were the PTA

And children pledged allegiance.

 

Yes, once there was such a place

Until Madam Pele** said, “No more!”

And scattered all the children

Like stars in the universe,

Echoing Thomas Wolfe,

“You can’t go home again.”

 

From Kapoho: Memoir of a Modern Pompeii

 

* furo: bath

**Kapoho was destroyed by lava flows. Madame Pele, fire goddess in Hawai’ian lore, is believed to be the creator of eruptions.

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Thank you for asking about my Kapoho book: Kapoho: Memoir of a Modern Pompeii.

I was 18 when our town was covered by the same Kilauea Volcano who has returned to the same area.  Book is available on Amazon, Watermark Publishers , Barnes & Noble, and other local bookshops. The  cover shows the main part of Kapoho: The pool hall, the Nakamura store, and the theater which used generators to show films. My grandmother’s house was one of the first to be totally covered by lava.

3 by 4 kapoho cover

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The on-going eruption in Hawaii brings back memories of how our village Kapoho was demolished by Kilauea Volcano. We evacuated to Pahoa  which became our second home,  and now Pahoa and it’s neighboring areas are being destroyed or threatened.  Thank you, readers, for asking about my memoir about Kapoho: Yes, Kapoho is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Watermark Publishing. My heart goes out to all the people in the Puna area. The book cover below shows the main part of our village. What was inspiring was how the villagers turned into philosophers and said, as my father did, that if Pele wants our house, she can have it. I hear this from some of the current  evacuees.  A stronger bond grew  among the people as each reached out to others. Kapoho still exists in the lives of its residents although Pele scattered us all over the country.

Kapoho cover

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A Kapoho Christmas

 

It was Christmas without lights.

It was Christmas without indoor plumbing.

It was Christmas without carolers at the window

Muffed and warm under falling snow.

 

But there was Christmas.

 

A Christmas program at school

Where the Holy Night reenacted:

White tissue paper glued on spines of coconut  fronds

Shaped as angel wings and halos.

Long white robes, over bare feet.

 

Santa Claus with bagfuls of hard mixed candies

Ho ho hoed by the plantation manager,

His yearly holiday role in the village where he reigned.

Fathers  in Sunday best

After a hard day’s work in sugar cane fields.

Children in home-sewn dresses and shirts.

 

A fir tree from the hills,

Needles not lasting 24 hours.

Chains from construction paper,

Origami balls and strands of tin-foiled tinsel.

Kerosene  and gas lamps

Moving shadows on the walls.

 

It was not the Christmas of my dreams.

No carolers at the window,

Singing Silent Night, Holy Night.

No large presents under a real Christmas tree

No fireplaces and rooftop chimneys.

No blue-eyed  boy handing me hot chocolate.

 

For 18 years, the true Christmas

Lived in my head until Madame Pele*

Came to my rescue

And buried our kerosene lamps.

 

Finally, I said, running out fast

On unpaved roads

To the Christmas of my dreams.

* Fire of Goddess of Kilauea Volcanic Crater

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I met with members of a book club who selected my book Kapoho: Memoir of a Modern Pompeii, as one of their selections. The hostess, Jill Thornburg, was incredible. She had Sears ads in the bathroom as toilet paper and she served Vienna Sausage, Kapoho style. They really knew the book. One woman who was stationed in Hawaii with her military husband in the 60’s said she got to know my soul while reading the book; that it was more than a group of stories. Each discussed their favorite story.  I was asked to discuss writing and other aspects of the book. They expressed gratitude for the discount my publisher had given to their Kapoho purchase.

What a lovely visit back to Kapoho. And in Denver, too.

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