Impossible to miss Venus, glowing like a lantern, strung low over Makaleha, or Mars, directly overhead, a distant ember. The crickets rejoice with their nightly symphony performance, the stream rushes headlong in pursuit of the sea.
In this near silence, this peaceful hum of nature, I hear a ping. It's a text, telling me:
Recently displaced Koloa Camp resident Mrs. Catherine Fernandez was hit by a car at 7 this morning while on her daily walk. A familiar sight in her bright red jacket, the 83-year-old now walks from the low-income housing on the other side of Koloa town, where there's a lot more traffic in the early morning. She suffered a laceration to her elbow that required stitches.
I think of Mrs. Fernandez with her sore elbow, body hurting, heart lonely for the home she'd lived in for the last 57 years, a yard with mango, lychee, pineapple, papaya and banana that she had planted.
I recall that For Kauai ran an article on her, so I go looking and learn that her husband, Cereal, had passed away last September. A retired supervisor, he was the last plantation worker residing in the camp. As Mrs. Fernandez recounts:
“My husband was the last one that Grove Farm was waiting for. Within 29 days after he died they called up and said they wanted to have a meeting with our family so they could discuss the future of the camp.”
By Nov. 8, Grove Farm had issued eviction notices to all the camp residents and agricultural tenants. By April 8, only a few remained, waiting for their day in court, which is April 30th, I believe.
“This is the end of the plantation,” says Catherine. “Why celebrate Koloa Plantation Days when there will be no more plantations?”
I wonder again why Grove Farm, with all its land, had to destroy this little piece of real Kauai, and with it people's lives.
And as the crickets sing, and dogs bark in the distance, I find something craven in a business plan that requires some people to become homeless so that others can get homes.
29 days after her husband died? Even for a cold blooded, soulless corporation, that is bad.
Grove Farm has become heartless. George Wilcox would have taken care of these people. All they now care about is money.
there is alot of Kauai that is becoming unrecognizable. But they should also demolish that sign at the beginning of Koloaa , the one that says Koloaa is a historic plantation town.Wiping out history for some crass china builldings. I am so sorry for the families.
If Grove Farm is going to destroy a piece of Kauai history, why don't they buy and then destroy Coco Palms?
They would if people lived there.
So they wait until the last plantation worker dies before closing the plantation housing and your still not happy? How many generations would you insist beallowed to live there? Even if Grove waited until the last person with any connection whatsoever with any person who ever worked on the plantation was gone you all would still be grousing.
Its pretty cool what blogging can perform. Connect you with all others.
To the last post, it could've been a win-win but for Grove Farm's'instance that there is no other alternative. There is something to be said about honoring history and not just bs tourist driven activities that the hotels support for their bottom line. That is what Plantation Days is. With the removal of the monkey pod trees by Knudsen Trust Koloa is becoming inevitably a tourist town and piece by piece the little bits of history are being wiped away. Replaced by tourist trappings and pre-fab made in China housing.
Thanks for the excellent report Joan. Indeed the information that the evictions were initiated 29 days after the last plantation worker died is arguably the most important fact reported in this story.
It's hard to believe GF apparently didn't want this to be public information. Even though there's no real excuse for the evictions in general and it shows a distinct lack of compassion and concern for the community, in some ways it symbolizes how PR tone-deaf they have been in all this.
For argument sake, if GF had stated this "last plantation worker" rationale- or even said something as a warning years ago- there might have been a perception, at least from the "property rights" crowd, that the evictions had some kind of rhyme or reason behind them. GF's PR wing is apparently run by dunderheads nowadays... I smell M.T. all over this fiasco.
Ask the large fat rat behind the scenes: Ron Kouchi.
Andy Parx, what is M.T.?
I wonder when Andy and the rest would allow Grove to tear down some shit falling down cabins and build modern homes for residents. What's that? Never? That's what I thought. Glad those bozos don't run the world.
Grove Farm is a business and Koloa Camp can produce more revenue than it currently does for the business. What does Grove Farm care when its future customers will come from off island and the customers from Hawaii will be too young to remember the plantation days?
As long as people could inhabit them, they should've been allowed to
MT = Mike Tresler
Thanks for the M.T.
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