Have you heard of Kalaupapa on Molokai? In the 1800s Hawai'i experienced an outbreak of Hansen's disease (aka leprosy). It is one of the imported diseases to which native Hawai'ians had no immunity. In order to quell the contagious disease, the government in 1866 adopted a policy of forced isolation, sending patients to fend for themselves on the Western end of Molokai, in what is now known as Kalaupapa National Historical Park. I just can't imagine. With time certain family members and also religious groups (notably Father Damien) moved into the settlement to care for the sick. Believe it or not, this forced isolation continued until 1969 with some 8000 patients confined there. To this day some of the former patients choose to remain in Kalaupapa.
Travel to Kalaupapa National Historical Park is restricted - I have never been. Please research this before attempting to visit.
Costco on Maui is currently carrying two books by author Alan Brennert, one of which (Moloka'i) tells the tale of a young girl who at age 7 is banished from O'ahu to Moloka'i. It is a historical novel (fiction) and really quite a fascinating read. And yes, a tear jerker. The story intrigued me and has inspired me to hit up the local library and look up more (actual historical) information about Kalaupapa.
As a side note, the second book by Alan Brennert at Costco, Honolulu, is also an excellent read about a Korean woman who comes to O'ahu as a picture bride in the early 1900s.
Labels: life on Maui