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Keeping Moloka'i Moloka'i (2013)

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Published on Oct 4, 2013

Tiny Moloka'i, rich in history, from ancient Hawai'i through the tragic era of Kalaupapa (Father Damien's 'leper colony'), and today; still beautiful, with rich land, sea, and culture. (More below)

Those who love this island are determined to 'keep Moloka'i Moloka'i'. Here are some of the reasons it is so beloved, and my own memories of Moloka'i, with a big Mahalo! to the many wonderful people on the friendly isle who I will never forget. Some are included here, among the many beautiful people and places.

Special thanks to Coffees of Hawai'i, especially Albert & Maria, without whom I'd never have had this immersive and wonderful experience, certainly not from the 'inside' as I did.

Many thanks to Lono (at Lonomusic.com) whose music I heard him play live, with the Kupuna, and whose music forms the soundtrack here - all the songs except for the first.

[**Music Note** The first song I did not know, but YouTube did! Mahalo, George Kuo. Beautiful.'Waikiki Hula Medley'. There is a link now to buy the complete song online. Mahalo for use here!]

All these people, memories, and ways still haunt me - and affirm my great respect for the tradition and un-ruined land of 'real Hawaii'. Thanks to all the extended family who shared story talk, coffee, and much more. Thank you Ettie and Kumu farms, Zack, who inspired me with his masterful photography and offered some great suggestions for finding scenic sites (and myself, on a map). Mahalo Marlene, and thanks so much to the one and only Buzzy. And mahalo all the gift store and espresso bar family, nieces and nephews and friends.

Mobetta I remember, mobetta I share, mobetta Moloka'i stays Moloka'i.

Mahalo all. I hope you enjoy some of my memories with you all. I'll never forget. Aloha!

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For the benefit of those unfamiliar with Moloka'i, here is a brief synopsis of what you're seeing here, which is mostly West Moloka'i and the Kalaupapa Peninsula, best reached by mule, down some of the world's tallest sea cliffs. This documents how the 'isolation colony' of Kalaupapa, with the legendary Father Damien and Mother Marianne Cope, stands today. As of summer 2013, there are 9 living residents still (by choice, no longer quarantined), and much of the Peninsula now has transitioned to grassy fields of graves, a few historic buildings and sites remaining, along with the homes and medical facilities still serving those surviving patients with Hansen's Disease. When there are no longer living residents, what remains here will be an Historical Park. Due to its isolation, and the respect for history, religion, and family, it is likely to remain as it now has become, minus the support staff for residents. This may be close to the end of an era, but the Peninsula is still as it has been since the 17th Century, with the addition of modern medicine and electricity.

Around Molokai 'topside' you can see images of a coffee plantation (Coffees of Hawai'i), a working farm which is a top exporter of organic papaya (Kumu Farms), the incredible beaches (some great to swim in, others too dangerous, but great for sunset-watching), the countryside, and some sights from 'the town'.

There isn't much traffic here, and not one traffic light. Big planes cannot land here, though a few years back there was an attempt at making West Moloka'i into one big eco-adventure resort. The signs are still up, but the still-new-looking Lodge and the 'museum' village of the original Maunaloa Town bungalows, are boarded up, a ghost town. Moloka'i is not a tourist trap, and its rough beaches and dirt roads are best suited for enjoyment, not development. You'll see that sentiment here, and (if you're reading this), listen for Lono singing the words so strongly felt here - "Mo betta you come, mo betta you go, mo betta you just stay away". This reflects the history, and the wide sentiment to "Keep Moloka'i Moloka'i".

The people farm, and work in new and old ways, and are deeply connected to land and sea. It truly is 'the friendly isle', so long as one is appreciative and respectful and not looking to be pampered or to build a resort! Life is slow, and real. I found so much Aloha spirit there, enjoying the island, the natural beauty, and its ways, rather than looking for tourist niceties. No A/C, often no wireless signal... Nobody with their eyes glued to a Twitterboard. And no traffic! "Digital detox" on the cheap (compared to hospital detox for 'Internet addiction') as I had the chance to connect with people and the land and sea, without a device in sight. Mobetta to enjoy true 'connection' to the people, magic, and beauty of Moloka'i.

I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to take this all in, and now I am happy to share a taste of Moloka'i 2013. Aloha!

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