When you visit Ching Young Village in Hanalei on weekends, you’ll find stores, shops and restaurants.
And, you’ll usually find Moses Hamilton.
For several hours each Saturday and Sunday, Hamilton goes to work. He’s the man sitting in his wheelchair, painting with a brush pursed between his lips. There’s a table with his creativity that depicts Kauai scenes — sea turtles swimming, sun setting, moonlight glowing, waves crashing — on display.
“It’s almost like a podium for me to spread my love of life,” he said. “I get to do my art, and show that no matter how hard the obstacles in life, strength of will and perseverance, you can do almost anything.”
He sells mostly laser prints of his painting, “Mo’s Art,” and some originals. This is how he earns a living after he was injured in a car crash about 13 years ago on Kauai, and was paralyzed from the chest down. He has limited used of his arms. So this outside spot in Hanalei is, essentially, his office, rain or shine.
But getting there these days is far from routine.
The converted wheelchair-accessible 1991 Ford Ecoline van that Hamilton’s parents, Hawk and Cherry, use to drive Moses to Hanalei from the family’s North Shore home, and on any outing, is in “rough shape,” and that’s putting it mildly.
It’s rusting, leaking, the body is dented and dinged, the interior is ripped and torn, the air conditioning doesn’t work, and perhaps worse yet, it’s getting to be dangerous to drive.
“It’s just falling apart,” Moses said.
That’s why Moses is asking for a little help from his friends and supporters to allow him to continue getting around on Kauai.
A “Keeping Mo Mobile,” drive was recently started on the website, gofundme. It’s already raised $7,753 toward its goal of $25,000.
It took a lot for Moses, a man who likes to be as independent as possible, to reach out for assistance.
But even he admits it would be wonderful to have a wheelchair accessible van that was reliable, comfortable and safe.
“Someone like me needs a special needs vehicle,” he said.
He knew it was time to seek assistance when the van recently stalled near the Hanalei Bridge and wouldn’t start again. When Hawk was towing it their Kilauea home with his Ford Ranger, the truck caught fire (turned out to be a fuel line problem) and was pretty much fried. It was a frantic scene as Hawk struggled to separate the vehicles and save the van.
“It was straight out of a bad movie,” Moses said, trying to joke about the situation. “All of the sudden, my dad’s car is on fire.”
While a new alternator put the van back on the road, it’s clearly on borrowed time. The situation, 39-year-old Moses said, is “pretty dire.”
His only avenue of mobility, nearly 25 years old, is dying a slow death and headed for the automobile graveyard.
He sometimes finds himself unable get out, to drive to Hanalei and paint, because of vehicle troubles. The gregarious Moses loves getting out and meeting people.
“It’s driving me a little crazy. I can’t hitchhike or catch a bus,” he said. “I need something special.”
Early response to the fundraiser has been heart-warming, he said.
“We can’t thank you all enough for the love, support and generosity we have received and we are forever grateful to each and every one of you!” he wrote.
His art has been sold to people from all over the world on Kauai or online at www.mosesart.org.
People want see him continue painting in Hanalei. Many are familiar with his work and know the heart and soul that goes into each. It takes him, on average, about 25 hours to complete an 11-by-14 painting.
Some of the comments from donors:
“We are happy to help you, Moses. I’ll share this in hopes you achieve this goal. You’re a true inspiration and deserve this vehicle so you can continue to spread your gift.”
“Keep making the world bright and beautiful with your art!”
“Moses you have always been sweet to myself and my grandsons you deserve the best of your hearts desires..your art is inspirational love.”
“Aloha Mo, Danny and I talked w/you the other day while you were painting. Keep up the good creativity !!!! it’s impressive!
“Your painting sits on my desk and it’s priceless.”
Those words have lifted his spirits.
“It’s so nice that people want to help,” Moses said. “It means so much to me.”
Moses, in a previous interview with The Garden Island, said that in a way, painting sets him free to fly and walk again.
“Every time you do a painting, you’re putting a little bit of what’s inside you out there,” he said. “You’re sharing your soul with the world.”
Thanks for sharing.
To donate, go to www.gofundme.com/a32pegnk