ANAHOLA — A cool misting rain dusted the gathering of people in the garage of the new home on Anahola Road as a guest greeted Donna Friend, presenting her with a potted poinsettia.
“This is your first Christmas in your new home,” the guest said, giving Friend a big hug. “Congratulations.”
Kauai Habitat for Humanity hosted a key passing ceremony Friday afternoon officiated by Pastor Larry Matsuwaki of Thy Word Ministries Christian Church in Anahola.
Pomaikai Brown, the Kauai Habitat volunteer coordinator, sounded the pu announcing the start of the ceremony. Friend, describing herself as a kumu to her granddaughter, Naiah Makamae Pacarro of the Big Island, offered a chant while Pacarro performed a kahiko hula honoring Pele.
“I left Kauai after Hurricane Iniki in 1992,” Friend said. “I’ve been living on the Big Island all this time. Now, after working with the Kauai Habitat people and using a USDA low rate mortgage, I’m going to live here with one of my granddaughters.”
Chris Young, the Kauai Habitat community outreach coordinator, said this was a long wait of 40 years for Friend.
“Her dad applied for this 40 years ago,” Young said. “He passed on and Donna took his place in the wait. As a staff member of Kauai Habitat, this is the day we all look forward to — the day we pass the keys to the new homebuyers make all the work leading up to this day worthwhile.”
Stephen Spears, Kauai Habitat director, surveyed the new three-bedroom home — its 138th home completed on Kauai since starting in 1992.
“It’s good the neighbors cleared the lot of those Java plum trees and all the overgrowth,” Spears said. “Donna is going to have good ventilation and a lot of sun for all the plants she’ll have in her garden.”
Kevin Bainbridge, team leader for the Global Village volunteer team of 11 workers from around the country who started work in the Eleele Iluna project Wednesday, was among the guest list that included Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.; Kaulana Finn, Kauai representative for Rep. Tulsi Gabbard; and representatives of other government agencies as well as friends and family, some flying in from the Big Island for the occasion.
Bainbridge has been on other builds, but said they have never experienced a house blessing.
Kauai Habitat for Humanity is a partner agency with the Kauai United Way and the Kauai affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International.