Mahelona residents visit Lydgate Park

WAILUA — No one anticipated the brown water Wednesday at Lydgate Park.

“The lifeguards said it was alright to swim,” said Josie Pablo, the Mahelona Hospital recreation director. “But look at the brown water outside the breakwater. It’s better to be safe. We were thinking about changing the date, but the students from the Okinawa Prefectural College of Nursing are leaving this week, so we just changed the event from swimming to a beach outing.”

Some 28 residents of the Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital were treated to their second beach outing for the summer, getting help from the hospital’s regular corps of volunteers, the nursing students from the OPCN, the hospital’s staff, and the drivers and The Kauai Bus.

“These are third-year nursing students,” said Brian Yamamoto, a Kauai Community College instructor. “This beach outing is part of their two-week stay on Kauai where they learn not only nursing, but have an opportunity to improve their English and learn about the place.”

Yuki Tsukayama of Kadena, Okinawa, was the designated leader of the nursing student delegation which included seven girls, two boys, and two instructor chaperones.

“I love the beach,” Tsukayama said. “Also Waimea Canyon. I want to become a nurse because there are so many people in the hospital in the town I come from. I want to be able to help them — make a difference.”

Pablo said because of the event switch, she needed to made adjustments in who was coming to help.

“They’re (residents) not in the water,” Pablo said. “I needed to get entertainment so I got these people who are connected with the Kilauea Social Club. And, Don Price of California who called one day and started volunteering.”

Price said he and his family rent a house here and he, after speaking with Pablo, goes to the hospital twice a week to play ukulele and sing to the residents.

“It’s such a good thing to have the hospital people bring the residents to the beach,” Price said. “I’ve never seen anything like this. The residents are enjoying themselves and everyone is having fun.”

Steve Kline, the occupational therapist from the Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital, was helping the Mahelona staff, noting that KVMH residents will have its own outing on Sept. 12 at the Salt Pond Beach Park.

The OPCN students also took their turn entertaining the residents, breaking to demonstrate their hula skills before turning to the task of feeding lunch to the residents.

Pablo said the Mahelona staff will be taking the residents to the Kauai County Farm Bureau Fair, courtesy of Mary Ornellas. They will next host the Breast Cancer Walk, Oct. 6 at the pavilion closest to the Kapaa Neighborhood Center.

“We’re looking for volunteers to help wheel the residents along Ke Ala Hele Makalae,” Pablo said. “If you’re interested, call 823-4138.”

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