Rural versus Urban Islands, July 1, 2021

In 2005, I planned another trip to Hawaii. This time I wanted to visit Molokai and Maui. I researched places to stay on Molokai and found solar tentalows on the beach . Hot water and lights were solar. You had to select the best time to take a shower. You didn’t want to shower the first thing in the morning. Breakfast was self serve in a shelter on the beach. The whole island had a small town feeling. We went to the farmer’s market and met Joan, a transplanted artist from Chicago. She traded portraits for food and supplies. Her husband was a drummer. He worked weekends with bands.

There was a sacred waterfall on the far side of the island. Tour companies charged 100 dollars to go to it. Joan said that her friend husband’s family owned the rights to the path along with several others. He would allow us to take the path to the waterfall for a bag of ice and a couple of gallons of juice. John was doubtful but we met Joan on the road and traveled to her friend’s home.

The husband was hoping to have a couple of hands to help with his taro field. Instead , he asked if his young children could take us to the waterfall. We agreeded and the children disrobed to their birthday suits to visit the falls.I thought,”We’re not in Kansas anymore.”

We tramppled through a jungle with wild papaya trees. Our shoes were orange with the crushed fruit.

We met another group of native Hawaiians walking to the same site. John was worried that we weren’t welcome. When we were close to the waterfall, I saw there were stepping stones to cross the river to continue to the fallls. I decided to stay there and rest. Ruth, Joan and the children went on. After awhile one of the Hawaiian men came back and asked if John would like to see the waterfall. He would stay with me. While we waited, he picked fresh avocados . Peeling them, he offered pieces to me for strength.

This island once housed a leper colony in the 1860’s. It is now run by the park dept . There were still several people living there by choise. Drug therapy have help manage the lepersy and allowed the people to visit other islands. Ruth was too young to visit the colony. The age limit was 15 and older. We were told to lie but didn’t think that was a good idea. Instead we visited a macadamia grove, a coffee farm that had coffee brewing and sampling and a sweet potato farm that produced and sold taro and sweet potato chips.

We traveled by island plane to Maui. We stayed at a beach hotel. This island is knowned for it’s quiet and secluded beaches.

I wanted to see the massive volcano mountain that forms over 75% of the island. We drove to near the peak. Walking down into the cone, we experienced dramatic changes in the temperature. On the top of the cone it rains daily.

In the evening, we chose to go to a luau that was noted for it’s dancers. All three of us dressed native ,Ruth and I in wrap dresses and John in an floral shirt. We were in the line to enter the luau but found we were ushered to a different line . Whether because we were not drinking alcohol or because of my white cane, we had front row seating. The show showcased traditional dances from each island. The island of Molokai dance was preformed by all males. The story of warriors and hunters was easily followed. The dance of fire torches was Maui’s contribution to the show.

I like the contrast of the islands but the best moments were the interactions with Hawaiians as they shared their culture with us.



The Dance

Drummers kept the beat,

dancers pounded with their feet,

Swaying hips make colorful bands,

But the story is in

the movements of the hands.

copyright 7/1/21

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