Haena relishing peace; can we protect it?
As immediate needs are being addressed and taken care of in the aftermath of the record- breaking Kauai flood, the reality of reintroducing the outside world to an isolated Haena community is one that should be handled with care.
A mighty storm seems to be a way nature calls attention to herself. A reset button has been pushed, and life here in Haena has traveled back in time. I have never seen some of our most cherished kupuna so happy to relish in the slow of an island that has picked up speed to match itself with a fast-paced world.
Keiki are riding bikes, mamas are strolling babies and pedestrians are using the roadside without the dangers of fast-moving vehicles rushing to get to an overpopulated beach or trail.
One can plainly see why others come to visit a place of such profound peace and beauty, but we must realize that when the spirit of a place and people get inundated with an unspeakable trafficking of rental cars and their occupants, the peace that one comes for slips through the cracks of an unsustainable infrastructure and over-maxing holding capacity.
Not to mention the complication of side-road parking that has turned a double lane highway into a single one, making it dangerously complicated for emergency vehicles to reach their call.
So the big question speaks bold.
How will we choose to use this opportunity to reinvent better and creatively sensitive ways to share in the sacredness of an ancient place?
Anything is possible, and our limitations of working solutions are our own.
Shuttles that start from Hanalei and/or Princeville could be an idea? This would not only limit vehicles, but would also put a cap on the amount of daily visitors. Imagine how much more special a visitor’s experience would be to witness a place in its authentic form, and how much more welcoming those living here would be, as there would be a sense of provided balance and care.
This is simply a perspective of an island girl who was raised here and remembers a time with no traffic lights and garage tables lined with newspaper and the feasting of fresh-caught crab. Uncles would be strumming their homemade string instruments and there would be singing all night long. It was slow, and I understand that times have changed, but, please, not at the expense of an island that holds us so well.
Alison Chuang, Haena