How old is MolokaiWhat is Molokai like?
The last few leper colony colonies
Among the teardrops and reminiscences of several hundred burials, Paul Harada finds some solace in the sense that his deceased boyfriends and neighbours are now free. As a teenage leper, Harada was taken from his home and exiled to this remote Molokai Islands penninsula to perish.
Today Harada, 76, is one of the last 40 older Kalaupapa sufferers, where in the last hundred years of the last millennium thousand of Hawaiians have been located. has had the opportunity to leave this place of sabotage. I can' t do anything outside," Harada said and lifted his almost finger-less hand onto his old, browned face.
" Once Kalaupapa was an extensive and vibrant municipality with more than 1,000 inhabitants. The number of tombs now exceeds the number of the patient by almost 200 to 1. Following the diagnosis of hepatitis Hansen's Syndrome, Harada was evicted from his home in Kauai and sent from Hawaii to Honolulu before being sent to Kalaupapa on 29 June 1945 with five other young men and two middle-aged mothers.
Kalaupapa's populace was more than 400 when Harada came, but it has shrunk constantly, as has the number of deaths. With his 48-year-old woman, who was also a leper outpatient, Harada cultivates his luxuriant garden with exotic plants, fruit and plants - such as sunflowers, hilltops, avocadoes and papaya.
Inhabitants are still referred to by each other and the state as "patients," although they were all freed from the feared and deforming illness that was once considered a scourge. Kalaupapa Peninsula is encircled on three sides by the Pacific Ocean's whitewashed waters and on the forth by the steep verdant Molokai rocks.
In 1980 Kalaupapa was declared a historical national park. When the last person to die or move away, the National Park Service manages the entire area. Meanwhile, the Hawaiian elderly, whose mean lifespan is 75 years, live a quiet life typically for other Hawaiian seniors - angling, horticulture, reading, televisual.
"It really is no different than being in a small town," said Michael McCarten, the manager of the state health department for the housing estate, who resides in Kalaupapa four times a month. A few people slurp pint ers in Elaine's Place, a courtyard of a home that has been turned into a temporary pub, and open a few hour a full moon when Elaine Remigio, 80, the proprietor, wants it.
"This is the only place they're going," said Richard Marks, 73, a male resident and the locals marshal and researcher. "A man said to Marks he liked Las Vegas in Hawaii. Each one visits one of the three working temples in Kalaupapa. "Thou take the faith for what it is, and it keeps thee very stable," said Harada, a Catholic.
" Since 1865, when King Kamehameha V introduced a "law to stop the spread of leprosy", which compelled persons with or who are under suspicion of having the illness to stay in a remote country, about 8,000 persons were sent into exile. It stayed in force until 1969, when the admission in Kalaupapa ended.
There is still no street connecting them to the remainder of the islands, or "topside Molokai". Some houses that used to accommodate former residents are now empty. Remains of old outbuildings also exist, among them the Federal Leprosy Research Station. There is a state that offers health services, shelter and a decent retirement, which kept most people in this family.
"Your general population has been here for 50 years. "Many have tried outside Kalaupapa, but some came back when they could not find work and were abandoned by their neighbours and sometimes by their own family. "Several of them couldn't bear it," said Mark. In 1947, when he was 12 years old, Makia Malo, who was sent to Kalaupapa, is a male survivor.
Although he was blinded by the effects of the disease, which prevented him from writing Braille, Malo went to Honolulu and signed up at the University of Hawaii at the tender ages of 37. "I was a little frightened because I wasn't sure in the back of my head how much I would be accepted by the people," said Malo, 68, who now divides his days between Honolulu and Kalaupapa.
"Malo said, "One of the baddest things about this illness is that even after you have been healed, the company won't let you get healed because of the L-word. "The people of Calaupapa are comparing "lepers" to a racially nickname. Even though antibiotics can free people from the illness, the symptoms can last a life time.
There is still fear of the illness, said Mark. "You have the most misconceptions that hepatitis is such a communicable illness, which is just rubbish. More than 1,100 persons have come to work since Father Damien, and Father Damien was the only one who received the disease," said Mark, with reference to the Belgium clergyman who served the patient from 1873 until his deaths in 1889.
It reminds of an Aussie physician who came to see Kalaupapa. "Marks remembered what was happening when he lifted a piece of cardboard that she abandoned. "Harada was permitted to depart the 8,725-acre large promontory for the first acres in 1954, when he was healed from Hansen's illness, which destroyed his nervous system and skins. Until then, however, the illness had taken most of his finger and the feelings in his arms and toes.
When Harada said he finally came to visit relatives and boyfriends, he made sure that he did not betray that he was living in Kalaupapa to save his ancestors. However, his mystery was finally revealed, which Harada regarded as "a favor". "When he returns to Kalaupapa, he succeeds in fishing and gardening despite the damages caused to his ass.
The only travel agency in Kalaupapa, Mark has a long tradition of Hansen Sickness. Mark was pronounced a 21-year-old with a diagnosis of hepatitis when some injuries occurred to his skull. He immediately became a station of the regional governors. But, unlike Harada, Mark was already very close to Kalaupapa.
"I' dve down at dark, visited my father and went up again," said Marks, who was walking along a cliff path. "It is not known how the introduction of the disease was in Hawaii, but it quickly took a heavy toll on the people, especially the local Hawaiians, who had no immunity from the alien sickness.
As soon as the penninsula becomes a protected area, the inhabitants say that they want to keep the village intact. You want your guests to know not only about the separation and sufferings of Kalaupapa, but also about the life of the people. I' m not worried about this place," Harada said.