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Experiencing Kalaupapa

Community Contributed

By Aka`ula Students

Editor’s note: A group of Aka`ula School students recently had the opportunity to spend time in Kalaupapa, and shared their experiences in the school’s newsletter, reprinted with permission here.

By Dillon DeCoite, Junior

The scenery at Kalaupapa is breathtaking. Kalaupapa is a small peninsula on the north shore of Molokai. The peninsula has, what I believe is, the most beautiful scenery anywhere. During summer vacation, I had the opportunity to go to Kalaupapa and stay for five days. I did many things while at Kalaupapa, but overall jumping off the pier was my favorite part. The water at the pier is the clearest water I have ever swum in. While I swam in the water, the highest sea cliffs in the world rose above me. It was a view I could look at for hours. I was glad to have the
opportunity to go to Kalaupapa and experience the stunning scenery.
Restoring Rock Walls
By Sydni Pawn, Senior

Na Pohaku is the foundation of everything. While in Kalaupapa one of the things on our college class “to do list” was to restore dry stacked rock walls. Uncle Keoki Pescaia and his co-workers helped explain the way to restore a dry stack rock wall. He explained the three-step technique. First, is the Niho, the foundation or alignment of the wall. Next, find the Alo, the face of the rock wall. Lastly, it’s the Haka Haka that fills the holes in the rock wall and holds a rock in place. As soon as we learned these techniques and watched Uncle Keoki do a little work on the wall, we were able to do it on our own. I also learned about the many uses of rock walls, including cattle containment, walkways, and boundary markers. Within a week, our class was able to restore five rock walls! Overall, the experience was amazing and I’m glad I got the opportunity to go and learn about the ways our kupuna lived. I wouldn’t mind heading back to Kalaupapa again.

Hiking the Kalaupapa Trail
By Jaden Liu, Junior

When I finished hiking the Kalaupapa trail, I felt a mixture of pride, relief, and exhaustion. During this past school break, I had the opportunity to go to Kalaupapa. The trip was filled with unique and exciting experiences, but for me, hiking the trail is a memory that I won’t forget. The hike is approximately three point five miles over harsh terrain. Personally, I thought of the hike as a test both physically and mentally. I am not normally strong willed, but this hike helped with that. There are 26 switchbacks on the trail that serve as markers. With every switch back I passed, I felt motivated to continue. After what seemed like hours, I made it up the trail in an hour.


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