Residents hopeful on day one of stay at home

  • Courtesy of Lia Nishikura

    Foster Baldwin is showing off his long-distance hug that was sent to him by his teacher Lia Nishikura.

  • Courtesy of Lia Nishikura

    Raegan Baldwin is on her couch while learning online.

  • Courtesy of Kanea Kinimaka-Aranio

    The Kinimaka-Aranio ‘ohana during a normal vacation to the happiest place on earth. From, left are Ray Wilson, Michelle Kinimaka-Aranio, Ashtin Kinimaka-Aranio, Kanea Kinimaka-Aranio and Axtin Kinimaka-Aranio.

  • Jasmine Sadamitsu / Special to The Garden Island

    Mikaele Brown, Kealohalani Goias-Medeiros, Brayden and Tsariah Sadamitsu are happy to be together, in front of supplies to ride out a long stay-at-home order.

  • Courtesy of Hanakapi‘ai Grosse

    A family photo of the Grosse Ohana best describes their sprit through these rough times. From left are Hanakila Grosse, Hanakapi‘ai Grosse, Makanale‘a Grosse, Nathan Grosse, Pi‘ilani Grosse, Kelanoi Grosse and Ha‘awipule Grosse.

  • Courtesy of Allison Davis

    Allison Davis is a home dialysis patient hopeful through these rough times.

This story has been edited to accurately reflect Gov. Ige’s travel quarantine, which applies to individuals flying from the mainland directly or through Honolulu.

LIHU‘E — Amidst a stay-at-home order and travel quarantines for those traveling to Hawai‘i from the mainland or internationally, families on Kaua‘i are finding ways to cope, follow rules and support the community.

Many families who fly to O‘ahu from Kaua‘i for medical reasons or doctor appointments plan to isolate themselves from the community when they return, even though they’re flying interisland and not traveling internationally or to the Mainland.

Gilda Valera is a registered nurse at Garden Island Healthcare & Rehabilitation at Wilcox Medical Center who is already serving her community on the front lines of responding to the COVID-19 outbreak. Soon, she will be flying to O‘ahu with son Aden Valera, who is recovering from cancer.

“It’s going to be hard. I have to fly my son to O‘ahu from Kaua‘i for his chemo, and then be quarantined when I get back,” said Valera.

Kanea Kinimaka-Aranio, a Waimea resident, is also voluntarily taking steps to protect herself and her community.

“My grandma passed on Monday, and with all the travel restrictions its hard for the family to get together and grieve/celebrate a wonderful person’s life,” Kinimaka-Aranio said. “I feel bad for the senior class of 2020, missing out on events that could’ve been lifetime memories. Other than that, life at home is the same except the kids are getting cabin fever.”

Some with pre-existing health conditions are doing their best to protect themselves in this time, going above and beyond the governor’s 14-day mandatory quarantine for indiviuals traveling from international destinations or the Mainland.

Hanama‘ulu resident and dialysis patient Allison Davis has spiritual beliefs that keep her hopeful. She’s taking extra precautions to keep herself healthy.

“We have not been affected too much by it. We just put our trust in God. If he has brought us to it, he will see us through it,” said Davis. “My immune system is compromised, (and) as well as being diabetic and a peritoneal home-dialysis patient puts me at a higher risk for infections.”

Like Davis, many are homebound due to the stay-at-home order issued by county and state officials.

Hanama‘ulu resident Jasmine Sadamitsu is the mother of eight children, and had to make some transitions as she started working from home.

“I am trying to be positive with everything that’s going on. For me and my family, I know we needed to reset,” said Sadamitsu. “We have been living in routine for a long time. There is nothing wrong with routine, in fact, with eight kids in our home, we need it. But we haven’t been able to enjoy each other in a long time. We do now. I’m able to spend quality time with the kids.”

Sadamitsu said during these stressful times, she is grateful to be able to cook real meals, play games with her kids and just spend more time with her ‘ohana.

Her advice to people on Kaua‘i through these unpredictable times: “If you are blessed and in a position to help someone, you should. Be kind and show aloha.”

Puhi resident Hanakapi’ai Grosse and her family have recently had to deal with cancellations of events like her daughter’s Merrie Monarch competition. Both Grosse and her husband have lost business due to COVID-precautions, like the stay-at-home mandate.

“Amidst the disappointment and heartache, though, the first week seemed like a staycation. We were able to rest and be together with our family of seven. School hasn’t affected us as we home school our five children already,” said Grosse.

“After the first week, we were quickly sobered by the realization that both my husband’s and my business were brought to a complete halt, as they both depended on tourism, his being a car-rental business and mine as a destination wedding.”

According to Grosse, with tourism slowing down it will eventually hurt her family financially. But she is on board with slowing tourism to fight the virus.

“The health and safety of our island is far more important than our income right now. We know that God is in control and we are hopeful that as a family and a community we will be able to weather this storm and come back stronger than ever in time,” Grosse said.

While some residents work at home, others are still considered essential workers and are out and about during the stay-at-home order.

Maycia Matsuyoshi, an employee of Pint Size Hawaii, is grateful to still be working through this crisis.

“People still need basic essentials, and there is a bunch of us who are glad to work on their behalf. My family is only going out for essentials. Otherwise, if we need something, I will pick it up on my way to or from work,” Matsuyoshi said.

Koloa School teacher Lia Nishikura and her fellow coworkers are busy working hard to find ways to help kids learn until they are able to return to school.

Nishikura said their principal has been proactive and working diligently with teachers to find ways that will meet the needs of all of their students.

“Right now students are scheduled to report back to school on April 7, so as a school we decided on paper packets to be handed out to families by a drive through pick up to supplement ‘til then,” Nishikura said.

“After April 7, we will reevaluate our methods and will most likely have to rely on some technology-based work.”

She goes on to say that the school and staff have a real strong sense of “for the kids” like all teachers on Kaua‘i have. So when problems arise they will do their best to figure it out and help their students.

“As a teacher, just the uncertainty is really scary. Not knowing when I will get to see my students, whether we will still have time to finish our curriculum. I also worry a lot about my students. I hope that someone is working with them, caring about them and challenging them.”

Nishikura advises parents that, in addition to the resources provided by the school, they should take this time to get to know their children.

“Write papers, create experiments, make art and research something that they always wanted to learn about,” Nishikura said.

•••

Stephanie Shinno, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0424 or sshinno@thegardenisland.com.

2 Comments
  1. HM March 26, 2020 8:46 am Reply

    This is great! Good article with some useful practical things to do.


  2. Ralph Simoloni March 26, 2020 1:38 pm Reply

    There are huge gaps in services. Homebound compromised have issues. Here they are. Please address them, asap, county government!!

    Housebound residents need help to do the normal things they need like get money at atms, pay bills, grocery shop. Some are completely unable to leave because they are so compromised. We need that quarantine! I really feel for Kinimakas situation, especially with having to get her son to chemo. My suggestion, would be stay on Oahu during the lockdown. If we do not have the quarantine, we will get a lot more cases. I so worry for her, the most because she has so much on her plate! Her son is very brave, my heart again goes out to the Kinimaka Ohana, who are a fine and upstanding family on this Island, and well known. perhaps, testing for antibodies, and an all clear would allow her to get home quicker? Just trying to think of solutions.

    Here are the gaps in care:

    On the first and the thirds most disability residents will need to access an atm to get their funds from social security. this involves going outside into a store, standing in a line possibly and handling money. I am unsure if masks are being allowed in stores, where there is an atm or at banks? Perhaps that is a question that can be answered. Also, what will banks and HUD do about renters that must physically walk in their rent payments? What is the procedure? Again, something else that will force the most vulnerable to leave their homes, and go into buildings and situations where they can contract the virus.

    Food distribution. Between the first and the fifth, EBT will come on the cards, but most compromised individuals no longer can risk going to crowded stores and stand in line. The risk is too great. Who will help[ them to get the things they need?

    Free meals are only being offered to those 70 and older, and those who are school age, leaving Immuno compromised in the ditch. There are a lot of gaps in services. This means regular Kauai people, who have gone through the virus and recovered and have antibody resistance to it, need to knock on doors, find out who needs the help and provide it so that not a single person has to leave the house to do it.

    Otherwise, a lot more compromised people will contract the virus and possibly die. Shall I describe what its like to die from this virus? Excruciating headaches, painful vomiting, coughing until its bloody all at the same time. And then soon after, death. Each time this situation is not managed so that the most vulnerable can take care of the important needs such as paying bills, car legalities, rent payments food shopping ect, is one more person who can possibly die a horrible and lonely death. I am tired of this soft stuff. Start telling it like it really is.

    We need to help the most vulnerable right now! “Kupuna Shopping hours”, just puts them at risk!! It forces them to come out in these cold winds and rain we are having and further compromise their immune systems!. Do not tell me we cant do this. These people need more help than they are getting!


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