Plantation days lifestyle remembered at Koloa Camp Revival

KOLOA — Doreen Jacintho and John Kruse are going to be in court today at 9 a.m. and this is one way the Koloa Camp can say mahalo for all the support the camp residents have received, said Phoebe Eng Sunday.

Eng was one of the coordinators of the Koloa Camp Revival event, a celebration of the Koloa Camp ‘Ohana at Rosie’s Pavilion in the Anne Knudsen Park.

A pictoral display of life in Koloa past and present, as well as some of the trials — some natural, some manmade — that the town has endured punctuated the atmosphere of “talk story,” where people could gather and reminisce about life in the plantation camps, including but not limited to Koloa Camp.

“We want to thank all the people — the state senators, Kaua‘i County Council members, volunteers, petition signers, sign wavers — everyone who helped make the case for more affordable housing and respect for Koloa Camp tenants and kupuna,” said Jacintho in a release.

While browsing through the photos on display, Kaua‘i County Council vice chair JoAnn Yukimura happened on a portrait of Uncle Louis Jacintho, Doreen’s dad, which stopped Yukimura as she affectionately patted the panel, smiling as she recollected her memories with the former Grove Farm irrigation supervisor.

“Aloha needs to be defined and lived anew by each generation,” Yukimura said. “Each person and each business must ask the question, ‘How do we act with aloha, here and now?’ I believe a win-win solution can be found for Koloa Camp and Grove Farm if we have the courage to try new ways and meet each other with mutual respect and the desire to find common ground.”

Eng said organizers invited The Kaua‘i Food Truck so attendees could have something to eat.

Gabby Manintin, who said he lived in Koloa Camp for 17 years before moving out, was one of the early orders — getting a cheeseburger and a butterfish plate lunch.

“Those days, rent was only about a hundred dollars a month,” Manintin said. “But we all fixed up the houses. Ours was a two-bedroom house and we added another bedroom and turned the inside so it looked like a hotel. We all took care of the houses.”

Another attendee said he lived in the camp for 25 years, recollecting the days when flush toilets became available and working on the house so they would have toilets inside.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardeisland.com.

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