Saturday, February 26, 2011


Marlene & I had some visitors yesterday – Uncle Mac & Aunt Phyllis Thompson - are on a 10 day Hawaiian cruise from Los Angeles (6 days are at sea) and the Feb 25th was their day on Maui. They dropped anchor at Lahaina around 8:00am, which is a 45 minute car drive, or a 1 ½ hour bus ride. Since it was a work day for us, we had arranged that they would jump on the Maui bus system and enjoy the scenery. Then I found out the bus schedule had changed and I sent the new schedule to them by snail mail. Then I found out what I sent was the wrong information, and I phoned and left a voicemail at their home with the correct info. Turns out they didn’t get either my letter or the voicemail before they left, but being the world travellers they are, they did just fine and arrived here shortly after lunch. We had a leisurely tour of the facility and a nice visit before driving them back to Lahaina for their 5:30 departure. It was a short visit, but pleasant all the same, particularly since Mac & Phyllis are the first visitors we have had since our first volunteer term in 2005 when Steph and Mike came for a short holiday.
Our participants are now into their final week of classes with Convocation this coming Thursday. This is the point when you start to see some anxiety over going home. After being away from family, careers, etc. for three weeks, this is understandable. One of the participants, a University professor from southern Mexico came up to us very proudly this week, to explain that he had found our blog on the internet. Apparently, when he “googles” Haggai, our blog appeared on the list of Haggai subjects. One of the volunteers here, a pastor from Saskatchewan who is on a three month sabbatical, also told us he had found our blog and used it to get a feel for what a volunteer term was all about.
This week was the end of the regional presentations which is always interesting. There presentations become more professional all the time with the aid of internet information and audio visual tools. However, it remains a mystery to me how countries like Russia and Brazil can be so wealthy in natural resources, education, etc. and yet provide it’s citizens with such poor social security programs. The only explanation for it that I ever get is “corruption”! And yet the “West” keeps sending aid in various forms.
Tonight, seven of us volunteers are going to a nightclub show, “Warren & Annabelles” in Lahaina. So it is a big social outing for us.
Marlene is back taking her sunset pictures.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Even at this stage of life, I am still learning new words. For those not familiar, the above is the name of smog caused by volcanic ash. We are experiencing this now caused by activity over on the Big Island at the Kilauea Volcano. The eruption of Kīlauea Volcano that began in 1983 continues today with lava from the cone flowing through a tube system down about 11 km to the sea. The ash from the volcano is causing "vog" which is drifting over most of the state of Hawaii. Until the trade winds pick up from the northwest, expected by Wednesday, asthma suffers and others with breathing difficulties must stay inside as much as possible.
The Rotary meetings that I attend here are now held at "Mulligans" an Irish Pub & Restaurant at the Wailea Golf & Country Club. The restaurant is owned by an Irishman with a full Irish personality, and it will be interesting to see how he outdoes himself for our St Patrick's week meeting. Roya, the president of the Kihei-Wailea Rotary club is a young estate attorney. We have quite a few visitors each week and many of those are from western Canada, especially the Vancouver area. It is always a treat to see who I might meet from week to week.
We are into week # 5 and I am back on the "rotational" duties, which includes providing the water to several stations around the building. There is lots of variety on this position with other duties, so it is good.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Happy Volunteers

Well at least most appear happy! And there are a couple of staff.
Each session of participants has a group phote taken, so while the equipment is setup, we use to get a group picture of our volunteers. I understand this is about as large as our group gets, and we have already said goodbye to four in the picture and we will say goodbye to another six this week, including the only other couple from Ontario.
We had a very interesting speaker at Rotary this week. Kalaupapa is the colony on the Hawaiian island of Molakai where patients with Hansen's disease (Leprosy) were taken early last century. The number of patients is dwindling (now under 20) and with it the risk of the knowledge of Kalaupapa. Our speaker's brother who passed in 2008 and his wife met and lived for more than 50 years in Kalaupapa. The speaker has taken it upon himself to share the story of Kalaupapa to keep its story alive. He shared a brief summary of its history and significance and that of the people who became victims of society's treatment of those with Hansen's disease among the Hawaiian people. He then told the sad story of Paul's diagnosis of having Hansen's disease at age 14, his being taken from his family on Kauai (another Hawaiian island), banished to Kalaupapa. He then told of his sister-in-law's diagnosis at age 11 on Maui where her family lived, and her banishment there as well. It was a very moving presentation.
We went out to breakfast this morning, a favourite Saturday morning pastime, to a restaurant that overlooks the ocean. Marlene thought we might get a whale sighting or two. Well, a mother whale and her calf put on a show quite close to shore. It was like she was training the calf to do jumps. While it was easy to watch, we didn't get any pictures, but it was very enjoyable with lots of "oohs & aahs".

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Week # 2

I'm not getting out to take many pictures! So I may have to recycle a few.
The weather is getting to 80/82 degrees highs and 68/70 lows. Quite nice, but the locals still complain about how cold it is in the morning?
We enjoyed a wonderful praise & worship evening last Tuesday and Convocation Thursday.We had many guests here for the convocation since one of the two sessions was sponsored by a generous couple from Western Canada.
So this weekend is changeover, existing classes leaving and new participants arriving.
We also welcomed new volunteers this week from Prince Edward Island, a first for us to work with volunteers from Atlantic Canada. He is a retired Pastor, former provincial politician & cabinet minister, so I will have something to talk with him about! Our volunteer numbers are quite high, but they will go down this month.
For the first time since our initial volunteer term, we will have friends and relatives visiting Maui while we are here. A good friend of Marlene's, an aunt and uncle of mine, and a Rotarian from Stratford and her husband. The latter two couples are stopping here on Hawaiian cruises. We look forward to showing and explaining Haggai to them.