Christmas in July

Kalaupapa residents celebrate annual barge.

The annual barge shipment brought goodies and essentials for residents.

By Patrick Mason

On a rather cool, early Saturday morning high above from the Pali trail tugboats could be seen leading the Kalaupapa barge as it arrived and docked at the peninsula’s only pier. The intermittent rain showers didn’t prevent residents from showing up, excited to see their long-awaited item unloaded. Some watched on nervously, concerned about the safety of their goods. The barge held everything from vehicles to perishables and building materials.

For many, the barge is like Christmas in July. After all, it’s only once a year that the Kalaupapa barge arrives.

The process of planning this shipment can be a complicated, but crucial one. The State and the National Park Service releases a shipping request for residents who are allotted a specific amount of space for personal items. After an order is compiled, a search for bids goes out to a number of companies. This year Young Brothers didn’t jump at the bid, but ended up with it near the end of the process.

One of the many important deliveries was a wheelchair-accessible Chevy van donated to patients from Hawaiian Medical Service Association (HMSA).

Brooke Jarvis, a supervisor for the national park service’s recycling program, was receiving a few utility vans, but more importantly, sent back a few containers of recyclable material. The recycling program is in its early stages since the Kalawao landfill will be closing at the end of the year. Last Saturday’s shipment was a test-run for recycling efforts.

While the barge continued to unload, there was a barbeque held for residents to celebrate. Earlier in the week, a block party for residents too. Lt. Officer Reyes of the National Park Service said, “It was really great to see everyone out enjoying themselves and coming together.”

After all was said and done, the residents of Kalaupapa were happy to receive the barge. If anything was forgotten, well, there’s always next year.


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