A few weeks ago I left my Analytics position in Denver, Colorado, to join my partner Kate in Hawaii. She is a nurse, and she took a position taking care of the last remaining patients who were cured of Hansen’s disease (formerly known as leprosy). Kalaupapa has a short, but rich, history, and, for those of you who are Catholic, you may know that this small village was the home of not one, but two, saints. Father Damien and Sister Marianne came to Kalaupapa to care for those afflicted with the disease. Father Damien caught the disease and died of it, though Sister Marianne did not. Both were beatified in the last ten years.
Kalaupapa is visually stunning. As you can see from the photo, it is flat peninsula that extends out into the ocean. The north end of Molokai broke off and fell into the ocean leaving the highest sea cliffs found anywhere in the world. Then, 250,000 years ago, lava came up and formed the peninsula. The location was chosen for the Hansen’s patients because it was difficult to escape. At the bottom of the photo, one can see the start of the black sand beach. The next photo shows it and the cliffs more clearly.
Anyway, you can see why I say that the place is visually stunning. The combination of the green cliffs which loom behind you with sun, sand, and ocean in front makes for some beautiful scenery. Over the coming months, I will write more about the place. Click here to go the National Park Service site for the place.