Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Kalawao County, Hawaii!!

Let me preface this postcard by explaining why it is so exciting. First of all, Kalawao County is the second smallest county by population in the entire country with 147 people living in 52 square miles. It has no county government and only has three villages, Kalaupapa, Kalawao, and Waikolu. What makes this county so interesting is it was once used as a real life leper colony. In 1969, when leprosy was treatable and found not to be contagious, they lifted the quarantine policy. From that date, no new patients or permanent residents are admitted to the colony, but the people living there were promised they could live out their lives there. There is still no road to the county and you can only get there by helicopter.

I had assumed this would be the hardest county to get. It got a little easier once I found out that most of the county is a National Historic Park. So I tried emailing the park ranger and my email got bounced. So I actually wrote out a letter and hand-mailed it to Hawaii. And now yesterday, I got this postcard. I didn't even know it was from Kalaupapa until I checked the zip code! Thank you so very much to the wonderful people at Kalaupapa National Historical Park for this amazing postcard!

1 comment:

dan said...

In case you didn't know, Father Damien (of whom the postcard is a picture) was a Catholic priest who spent the majority of his life caring for the people with leprosy in Kalawao County. He ended up contracting leprosy and died there after serving the people for 16 years (1873-1889)