"The Boys" is next in the series that I am working on that outlines Damien's work on Molokai. His story is worth telling because he brought more than hope and compassion to the 600 people that were literally banished to the Kalaupapa peninsula.
Fear and ignorance can easily separate us from our sense of humanity. Leprosy was spreading at an epidemic rate in Hawaii. There was no CDC at that time and the State Board of Health was the state agency responsible for making decisions as to how to handle this rapidly spreading epidemic. The solution to anyone diagnosed with the disease was to send them off to the Kalaupapa peninsula. This included children.
A gel transfer of a young group of boys who were already residents of Kalaupapa. At this stage, I am making decisions about the composition. Other parts of the image had already been removed.
This is the text that is incorporated into this piece:
me to the Kalihi Receiving Station immediately like the principal
said they should, my parents took me home. The whole family cried,
including my father. The next day my father took me downtown and
bought me a new suit. It was my first suit of clothes-they were so nice.
I looked good. I had never had clothes like that before because we were
poor. So I wore that suit of clothes to the Kalihi Receiving Station. Even
though we were poor, my father said he wanted me to be dressed
nicely when I was taken to Kalihi to be declared a leper. They took my
picture for the official record of the Board of Health wearing that new
suit of clothes. When the picture was taken, my father broke down again
He was six years old.