GARY T. KUBOTA / GKUBOTA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Some Kipahulu, Maui, residents have gone pig hunting, while others have been fishing in preparation for Thanksgiving. Earlier this month, Erland Pahukoa, flanked by Sean Brown, left, and Gabe Kahaleuahi, harvested a 150-pound wild boar. CLICK FOR LARGE
Stranded Maui town counts life's blessings
Kipahulu residents hunt and fish to supplement supplies flown in by helicopter
WAILUKU » Kipahulu resident Tweetie Lind says the annual Thanksgiving community feast has special meaning this year.
It is a time for the families to count their blessings and express their gratitude for public support, including airlifts of food and other essentials because the East Maui community was cut off by the Oct. 15 earthquakes, Lind said.
"We're very thankful," she said.
The residents hold the dinner today Kipahulu style (potluck) with about 150 people, including old-timers and newcomers and some Kaupo residents, thanks in part to Maui County, the Maui Food Bank and the Hawaii Army National Guard, which brought in the turkeys and some fixings Tuesday by helicopter.
Kipahulu has been isolated after the earthquakes damaged the Paihi Bridge between Kipahulu and Kaupo and made travel on a back road hazardous in mid-October.
Kipahulu residents have dug an imu, or earthen oven, near the community's triangle pavilion and gathered stones to be fired to cook the turkeys. For the non-meat eaters, there are vegetarian dishes.
With federal, state and county assistance, deliveries of food and other essentials have come via helicopter in the past few weeks, including fuel for their vehicles and appliances, a generator and an ice-making machine.
Lind said some residents have been fishing and others pig hunting, in preparation for Thanksgiving.
Keoki Smith, a manager at Maui Stables, said the earthquakes and hazards of road travel have stopped visitor travel into Kipahulu, forcing his business to shut down.
He said he is grateful to at least be collecting unemployment.
Smith said the isolation caused by the earthquakes has brought residents closer as a community, and the Thanksgiving feast at Kipahulu Triangle will be a gathering of people into "one big family."
"It's great," Smith said.
Kipahulu residents said they hope the county will be able to meet the deadline of completing a temporary bridge for Paihi by the announced scheduled date of Dec. 1.
But they also want people to remember they still have transportation problems that are causing them hardship.
"This year, we want the people to know we're still around, but in a nice way," Lind said.