The final island in Maui County that you can visit is Molokai. It’s a tiny place with zero cell service. For real. Landing at the “airport” was like going back in time. The airport was just a couple benches under a roof. No TSA here.
Molokai is also the place where Hawaiians were sent when they had leprosy. Literally just shipped over and left for dead. At first, there were no buildings, no nothing. Being caught with leprosy was a death sentence and you’d have to spend the rest of your lives on Molokai. Good-bye family. Saint Damien traveled there, built 4 churches, buildings, and a community. He saved everyone’s sanity and changed their lives for the better.
We flew in for a tour and it was pretty amazing. There are still 12 patients living there, they are all 70+ years old as the last people who were sent there was in 1969. Since Hawaii mandated they live there, the state supports them financially. They have their own little house and the freedom to move throughout the island. Leprosy, now known as Hansen’s Disease is no longer fatal so the travel restrictions have all been lifted.
The first church pictured above was the first church that St. Damien built. He thought it was very important for the patients to have a place to worship. The second church is dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi who is believed to have had leprosy as well.
Overall, it was a great day trip. It was so amazing to see such a historic place. And heartbreaking at the same time. Some people were only given a few hours to say good-by to their families before being shipped off. I cannot even imagine.
Have you ever been to Molokai?