By Mark Ellis.Kalaupapa has always been a special place to me and my 'Ohana. My Auntie Ku‘ulei Bell was sent there many years ago and have since passed away. On Aug. 20 it was even more special seeing a large number of the community members waiting to greet us on the dock. After securing Hōkūle‘a, Hikianalia and Ho‘okela we were welcome by members of the Kalaupapa community (Patients, State and National Park officials).
Kahaloko Cemetery. Crew members help with restoration work. Photo by Jenna Ishii
For me, it was very emotional to hear the oli and mana‘o that was exchanged from members of the Kalaupapa community and PVS. My Auntie Ku‘ulei Bell always loved seeing Hōkūle‘a come to Kalaupapa, and I know she was smiling down on us as Hikianalia and Ho‘okela joined Hōkūle‘a that day. After spending two days at Kalaupapa providing services to the community and renewing friendships it was time to leave, as we said our goodbye’s, a member of the community gave me a big hug and whispered in my ear… “your Auntie is very proud of you”.