Goodbye Pahoa

When I first arrived here I felt nervous. The home I’m house-sitting is off-grid, and the town is tiny. I received unkind glances when I initially went to the local hang out, or walked down the half block of stores.

The hippies, and the down and out crowd kind of put me off, and made me feel uncomfortable.

This home has county water, but no garbage service. It is solar, has propane gas to heat water, and the stove, and it has a generator for the times when the sun is hidden too long.

I’ve spoken to half a dozen people since I’ve been here. All of them kind, and interesting in their own ways. Strangely enough, several of them are originally from Oregon, and were very much familiar with Ashland, and with Lithia Park.

Today I had breakfast at the Tin Shack. Purple Okinawa potatoes, pesto, poached eggs, Hollandaise and gluten-free toast. My favorite dish there.

I got into a conversation with a man around 50 years old, that I had seen quite a few times there. He never wore a shirt, but that’s not too odd given the local and the laid back attitude in Pahoa.

I found out, that he caught a terrible parasitic infection, from a catchment water system, 11 years ago. There is a slug here, that carries a very serious parasite from rats. I guess it slogs through rats pee, picks it up, and shares it with people. So generous.

He was in bed for three months, and the hospitals wouldn’t admit him, as they had no idea of what was wrong with him. He ate huge amounts of garlic for months, and believes that killed the parasite, and enabled him to finally emerge from his bed.

He was left with nerve damage along his back and chest, which is so severe that he cannot wear a shirt. He is in severe pain all of the time. He told me that Hawaii has kept this issue a secret for a long while, and is just beginning to fess up about it. They are so dependent on the tourist industry, that they don’t want to scare people away. I think this is only a problem on the big island, but I’m not certain.

It was really nice speaking with him, and learning something about his unique story. People in general were just beginning to warm up to me, and now it’s time for me to go.

He said he’d see me when I return. I heard that from several people here. I did end up sort of falling in love with the place. The heavy rains pelting the roof, the million frogs chirping raucously each night, the lush green tropical environment. These are all things that I will miss.

Pahoa, thanks for having me here for this month of July, 2017. I look forward to coming back, and I know I’ll be welcomed.

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