Tuesday, May 24, 2022 |
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LIHU‘E — Raven Skousen, 8, said even if you’re poor, you can fnd a way to help.
The little 8-year-old and his brother Pono, 10, and mother Sandi, were helping at the Kokua Soup Kitchen at the Salvation Army, Lihu‘e Corps, Thursday when hot lunches are served for anyone who needs a hot meal.
“His mother said Raven was interested in helping at the Salvation Army to help feed the homeless,” said Salvation Army Envoy Joy Groenleer. “He is such a special little boy, and I hope what he does will inspire others.”
Raven’s dad, Darrin Skousen, is a Justice Attorney General with the Air Force and is stationed at Yokota Air Base in Japan.
When Japan was hit by the earthquake on March 11, Raven was about to be baptised and his grandparents were visiting the family in Japan, said his mother, a graduate of Waimea High School and formerly Sandi Magaoay.
“We actually have a lot of earthquakes, and sometimes the children wake up,” Sandi said. “But they’re all usually very short and sometimes we don’t even feel them.”
But they felt the 8.9 magnitude tremor.
“We were at a park and were taking a break from bicycle riding when everything started shaking and trees started creaking,” Sandie said. “It lasted four minutes and felt like you were on a boat.”
The people around us started listening to their radios and the little children were scared, Sandi said. When she asked people if anyone died, they said “No, but people will die because there is a tsunami coming right now.”
That night at Raven’s baptism, no one came, Sandi said. But that was understandable because of what she saw on television.
Since then, Darrin and the other members of the base have been busy with rescue and recovery work and other tasks to help following the disaster.
The nuclear uncertainty brought Sandi back to Kaua‘i with her four children until things stabilize in Japan.
“We live about 200 miles inland so we weren’t affected by the tsunami,” Sandi said. “But there was gas rationing, the schools have their electricity turned off and the military people are all working all the time.”
She said the Japanese people are very resilient and very polite, not taking more than what they need.
“This politeness is their new strength in the face of a disaster which has so many ramifications, everywhere,” Sandi said.
This politeness overflows into the homeless community where Sandi said Raven spent the money earmarked for his seventh birthday.
Just before his birthday in January, he asked his mother how much she was going to spend for his birthday party.
“I thought he was going to take the money and run,” Sandi said. “But no, he said he wanted to give the money to someone else who could use it.
“We asked the church, but the pastor said no one was in need. Raven wanted to send the money to people in Indonesia, but a neighbor suggested the homeless community which lives along the Tama River close to their home.
“There are shelters for homeless, but only the women and children take advantage of the shelters,” Sandi said. “The menfolk don’t go to the shelters. They live among the trees lining the river.”
Raven said delivering the food packages he created was cold since it was done in the winter.
“He’s always been a thoughtful little boy,” Sandi said. “When it was his sixth birthday, he said he didn’t want presents. Instead, he wanted to buy presents for people who came to his birthday party. He’s always thinking of how to help.”
Raven said despite this request, there was a little girl who brought a present by accident.
Groenleer said while the family is here, Sandi is home-schooling the children and providing the children with opportunities to serve others, teaching them the importance of helping others even in their unique circumstance.
“Joy was my roommate when we were in college,” Sandi said. “I feel so honored that I was able to room with someone who is doing so much for the community today.”
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or email@example.com.
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