Please, Come to Maui, With Aloha!

Please consider how you can support the Maui community; as the island rebuilds, businesses need to stay open to sustain our island family! We invite you to come visit Maui mindfully and with Aloha!

Our Maui community took an astounding hit with the decimation of our historic and vibrant town of Lahaina. Its people, their pets, homes and livelihoods. The grief is beyond imagining. The loss immeasurable. The days and weeks since August 8 have proven that the route to recovery is forged by the people for the people. Thank you for the outpouring of aloha from every corner of the world. The unity of spirit in this disaster has been truly heartfelt. And the need is great.

As the saying goes, “life finds a way,” and surely it does, but “forever changed” is its new tag line with reference to Lahaina.

plumeria flowers

Alas, we have all been impacted by this immense catastrophe at some level as islanders. Subsequently, I’m meeting folks every day with a story of tragedy, and hope, that breaks open my heart again and again. It is poignantly evident that as well as loss from the fires there is also trauma now emanating from the after shock. There is clearly a lot to learn as we dig deeper into the causes of the fires and failures that accelerated them.

The ripple-effect across the island.

Sadly, many businesses are on the verge of collapse from the initial messaging in response to the fires saying “don’t come to Maui.” With a respectfully altered message to honor the impact zone, we ask “please, come back to Maui!” Here on the south side, undeniably, we have become the engine that needs to keep running to sustain the island community as a whole. As such, we are in solidarity here in our efforts. And it takes tourism as our only real sustaining and immediate industry. I recently met a server at the Grand Wailea who has been left to support her entire Lahaina family. Having moved in with her she told me, “we are Filipino, we are strong, but I need to keep working! Please tell people to come!”

With the losses there are still beautiful stories emerging.

Not surprisingly, the Lahaina story is still making nightly news here. Therefore, we brace ourselves every day for what has been a rising number of those who perished. The Maui tragedy can be likened to Pompeii, a lost and decimated city. Not to be sugar-coated, it will take many years. We are rebuilding from ashes what’s been lost. We are living through an historic and monumental period of change.

crosses with yellow ribbon

And yet, we see a group of residents who took their sorrow and erected 115 crosses and placed 1000 yellow ribbons at Lahaina Bypass. With an aching respect, a new landmark, a memorial to those lives lost and who remain missing. As such, we see unity from the ashes. Whether it be donating or giving in service by volunteering, the response has been thoughtful and intense. We are each moved to do what we can as, in disbelief, we grapple with the haunting question…what happened?

What’s Not Lost

“Lahaina town may have burned down but Lahaina will always be alive in our hearts,” said an affiliate Realtor bravely in the face of losing her own home. The significant response has come from the community, our first responders and members of the public, as well as our global family who have been moved by this event. That demonstration of aloha has been a lifeline for the many with lives in crisis. The culture, history and generations of people with love of the ‘aina, the land, has not been destroyed. This is a society of profound connection. Its aged roots run deep.

lahaina maui banyan tree

“There’s Still Life”

Like the famous 150-year-old Lahaina banyan tree that stands, though burnt and charred.

In just 9 days after the fires, arborists from around the country were found lending a hand in the effort to save Lahaina’s beloved tree. Crews were creating large holes and slices in the soil in order that air, water and nutrients could penetrate the earth surrounding the historic tree. This tree has 36 aerial roots, branches that connect down into the ground. But because the tree isn’t yet giving any signs of oozing sap, it is, for now, likened to being in a coma. Aerating the soil is similar to giving the tree an intravenous shot to attempt to wake it up.

“There’s still life under every one of these groups and in the mainstream,…that’s where we are, that’s where our hope is.” reported arborist Steve Nimz, adding, “… the rest is up to the tree.”

church still standing amid the ashes in lahaina

Maria Lanakila Catholic Church

A symbol of hope, remarkably, miraculously, standing untouched amidst dust and rubble, is Maria Lanakila Catholic Church, built in 1846 on Wainee Street. Despite the heat and fire, the altar flowers from the Sunday service 2 days before the fire remained unsinged. The church itself has continued on, collecting donations, offering spiritual and counseling support. It endeavors to place 350 tiny homes in Lahaina for people who have been displaced and for those who are coming to rebuild it.

Needless to say, I meet these remarkable people of Aloha every day, stoic, resilient. And I’ve witnessed the call to action, from collection plates being passed in Sunday services in churches across the country. From sports clubs to individuals taking up challenges to raise money. Barges and boats loaded with an outpouring of giving with supplies headed for Maui. Aloha is striking its chord in the hearts of anyone with a connection or history with Hawaii on a global scale.

With a great stake in hope, in unity we will recover. We are seeing it happen. People are not severing ties. If anything, the Maui brand is ever-stronger.

So thank you for your continued prayers. Maui and our community will thrive again. And please, plan your visit soon!

Katy Foxwell R(B)

At your service, with Aloha!

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Jerry Foss

September 8, 2023

It is pretty easy to get snippets of information, but I really appreciated your blog. Thank you for providing a well rounded account of what is/is not happening. We saw an article regarding a large homeless shelter… had not heard of it previously….totally burned…but everyone got out safely and they have another facility…maybe in Kihei? Such a devastating occurrence but with hope and prayers and lots of support… all will work out! We have probably been to Maui 15 times over 30 years… we love your island! I spent 28 years as a Realtor…passing along important information… a good plan… for the right reasons!

Katy Foxwell

September 8, 2023

Aloha Jerry, I really appreciated your words and thank you for commenting on my blog page. It is a big situation here and trying to encompass all aspects of what is sort of a changing landscape on information is challenging. I hope that by bringing a blog month-to-month with some insights helps people process what’s happening.

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