Archive for Kalaupapa

Father Damien Made A Saint

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2009 by TheDiversePurse

FatherDamiendeVeusterBelgian missionary Father Damien de Veuster, better known as simply Father Damien, was recently made a saint by Pope Benedict XVI. Damien is well known throughout the world for living among those living with Hansen’s disease on the island of Molokai where he ultimately contracted the disease himself.

Before him, the settlement on Kalaupapa was basically a dumping ground for human beings afflicted with this illess to forge for themselves without any sort of medical care. With his goodwill, tenacity, and reputed temper, Father Damien was able to build a sense of community to residents who’d felt abandoned otherwise.

President Obama, who grew up in Hawaii at one point in his life, stated that people everywhere should take an example from Father Damien in our attitudes towards diseases by “answering the urgent call to heal and care for the sick.” LINK!

(Image courtesy of Flickr user catholicnative)

Surviving Hansen’s Disease Patients A Rarity On Kalaupapa

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 2, 2008 by TheDiversePurse

With Hansen’s Disease, formerly known as leprosy, under control in this day and age, 24 surviving patients on the island of Kalaupapa on Moloka’i still remember what it was like to endure the stigma and pain of the disease and how they wonder who will tell their story once they are gone.

“In one room, Makia Malo, a gifted storyteller of 74, sits in a wheelchair, sunglasses covering his compromised eyes. He so vividly recalls the morning he was sent as a boy to Kalaupapa that you share the child’s excitement about boarding an airplane for the first time, even though you know the dreaded reason for the trip. In another room, Henry Nalaielua, 84, who wrote a memoir of his rich life in Kalaupapa, talks about the black-and-white photograph in his book, of a boy of 10, posed with hands across his chest to help document the state of his just-diagnosed disease. The boy glowers back at you from the harrowing past.

‘I was scared and defiant,’ that boy as man says. ‘Or maybe I just didn’t care to smile.'”

Currently, patients run an organization Ka’Ohana O Kalaupapa which fights to preserve the settlement and advocates for patients.

I hope to one day visit Kalaupapa to honor my great-grandmother who suffered from this disease as well and that the island will be kept as-is to respect my ancestors and not be turned into another place for hotel chains to make into another touristy playground. Link! (via Der Spiegel)