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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Island of Hawaii

When you think of the islands of Hawaii you think of  great beauty, perfect weather and ocean waves and although I have been to all the islands but one,  I didn't know that the one I have not visited was once a leper colony.  Kalaupapa was originally a Hawaiian fishing village but the first leper colony that was established in Kalwao in 1873 moved here and remained in effect until 1969. .

At its peak there were about 1,200 exiled here. Now there are only a few who are living out their life thanks to entertainer Don Ho and a few others that encouraged  the state legislature to keep the facility from closing entirely. There are no active cases of leprosy now but many of those that suffered from it were physically scarred to an extent that coming back into the mainstream society would be very difficult

Leprosy, which is also know as Hansen's disease is a chronic infection cased by a certain bacteria and treatment for it is now successful with certain drugs. Until this was discovered and understood in the 1940's this disease effected millions of people all over the world.

Being sent to a leper colony was simply a death sentence even in Hawaii.



Lady Di Tn said...

Seems like you are always teaching me things that I would never know. Thank you dear friend. Paradise as Hawaii is known was not paradise for them. Peace

Nancy said...

An interesting post. I've heard of the leper colony on Hawaii, but like you, have never visited that island.

Michelle said...

Really interesting. Did not know about this colony.

Granny Annie said...

Did you know there have been studies and reports today of leprosy spread to humans who have handled, killed or eaten armadillos? I'm not kidding. Read about it.

Wool Winder said...

I only knew about this because I read the book Moloka'i by Alan Brennert, which is a fictional account of a young girl who contracts leprosy and is quarantined on the island. If I remember correctly, the book was interesting and well written, but it made me feel so sad that I didn't give it a very high rating. Perhaps I read it at a bad time for me, because most people give it very high marks--4.11 stars on Goodreads.

Dana said...

I didn't know about this either. I feel for those who suffered from it.