At the Waipahu Festival Marketplace

The smell assaults you as you enter. Jonah in the belly of the whale must have endured the same smell. But I breath in deep. Not because I like the smell but because I’ve been told the smell will dissipate much faster. And it does.

There are no Farris wheels, games or fast rides at this festival. But the foods, vegetables and fruits are not what you ordinarily see in the store. And if you are a fish lover, you have come to the right place. The Waipahu Festival Marketplace.

Dragon Fruit and Apple Bananas

Taro tops ( this is dry land taro, the corm is what they use to make poi with)

The heart of the banana ( this hangs from the bottom of the banana stalk) I don’t know how it is cooked but it is quite popular amongst the Filipino community

These guys speak for them selves. Also the culprits that punch you in the olfactory.

And what would a festival be without treats?

And there are many, many more offerings where these came from

Here is the information if you want to  know how to get to the Waipahu Festival Market Place

Tombstones at the Ewa Plantation Cemetery

This is an update on the Ewa plantation cemetery that I had written about in June (Hawaii Sugar Plantation)

Where are the graves? Only one lonely memorial.

When I first went to the plantation graveyard, grass grew so high that I could not see the tombstones. I thought they had all been removed. I could only think of all the hard work, trials and tribulations that these immigrants suffered to only end up forgotten.

Then a few months back while having breakfast at the Zippy’s restaurant across from the graveyard I got a pleasant surprise.

My friend and I were gabbing away as we walked to the car. I hadn’t even given the graveyard a second thought until we drove out of the parking lot that faced the cemetery. I was shocked. All the graveyard had been clipped and cleaned.

There are headstones as early as 1896 and the graveyard has been registered with the State Historical Society. But there has been nobody that is responsible for the care and upkeep of it. Too bad with all the money that was made  harvesting sugar, the big cats could not find it in their deep pockets to provide for a perpetual care for those people who worked themselves to the bone, ended up with permanently bent backs and suffered  abuse   and ended there days here to be lost in a blanket of weeds and just a whisper in the wind.

But someone has taken it upon his or her self to do something about the condition. And these are the results of what I saw that day.

This is the same memorial after the cemetery had been cared for. I was so surprised at all of the graves around it.

I even found signs of visitors. I was elated to see that some of these people were not forgotten

These were the graves that surrounded the one with the flowers.

Look at the dates on this marker. It speaks volumes as to what this mother must have suffered. I wonder if she was one of the many women who had to work and give birth in the field. I imagine her with a little bundle wrapped and slung over her back as she stayed hunched over working in the unbearable heat to line some fat cats pocket. She truly sacrificed. This was a beautiful tomb stone that was erected by what must have been a very loving family.

I’m not sure what was going on here but I would like to think that someone came to share a bottle and conversation with the person buried here.

This soul received a beautiful orchid lei.

And this was my favorite marker. I don’t know who it belonged to but it fits perfectly into this sad setting.

If you would like to read more about this area here is a very interesting site to go to. It is a request for money to help preserve the Plantation area. It is full of the history of those times and is very informative.

Ewa Historical Society

Filipinos the last wave. The End of Our Tour Of The Waipahu Plantation

Part 6

As we moved to the end of our tour we came to the Filipino houses. One house was a dorm showing how all the single Filipinos  lived. By and large they came to America in hopes of making their fortunes so that they could go back home rich men.
That bubble was burst when they arrived on the plantations, the last wave of immigrants, brought in for labor. Their long hours, treacherous work conditions and the very, very low pay made it impossible to save money. Their hopes of returning to the Philippines faded as the years wore on.
When they arrived they did not bring wives with them and in many places the ratio of Men to women was 20 to 1. Not having wives you can appreciate the following photos that show the bachelor conditions.
The above photo shows the threshold into the bachelor quarters. The small piece in the middle  is removable for a purpose. When sweeping the house  they could remove the piece and sweep the dirt out the door on to the grounds. Now tell me that isn’t clever?
Unfortunately not much was told to us about these rooms and we went through them so quickly that I barely got these photos.
Being that there were no women in the lives of these men fantasy must have played a large part in their world as seen by the decorations on their walls.
I am thinking that these posters that are seen here would have been very hard to come by during those days so I am not sure what they represent.
However, I do believe they may have taken photos out of the movie star magazines and posted them on their wall.
The weekend became a big event for these men as they would spend their earnings on going out and paying to dance with women. This would be the only time they would have any contact with them. If they were to meet any prospective bride it would have had to have been from the immigrant or Hawaiian population as they were forbidden to marry white women.
The Filipino men liked to play music and have parties. The lunas referred to them at times as children with their carefree ways. But I wonder if the shoe was on the other foot would they cut loose too as they saw their hopes and dreams slipping away? Would these bosses need to forget about where they are and the  dim light of their future?
Today, we have many Filipinos in the government and even have had a Filipino governor. All of the immigrants from the many different countries contributed to the islands in their food, ethics and culture. They survived the trial by fire making them a very strong people and it is their generations that today make Hawaii the diverse melting pot that it is.
Once again if you would like to visit the Waipahu Plantation Village you can go to this website for any information that you might need.

My next tour will be that of the different shave ice stands that dot the island. It isn’t just Matsumoto’s.

Part 4 of The Waipahu Plantation Village

The Portuguese Arrive

It’s Halloween evening. You’ve been scaring people all night and your tired. You take a break to sit on the front porch of this house. It was once the house of a Portuguese family who worked on one of the sugar Plantations.

The Portuguese were the luckier of the plantation workers. They were considered white. On the island of Maderia there was a blight that was destroying the vinyards so many farmers took the opportunity to come to Hawaii. Unlike many of the other nationalities that immigrated to work on the plantations the portuguese were allowed to bring their families with them.

Because they were of the lighter race many of them were chosen to be lunas or foremen. It was not unusual for these lunas to use whips and physical force on the laborers. But this was not true of all. But it gives you an idea of what it was like to work from 6:00 AM to to 4:30 PM.

Upon newly arriving many of the different nationalities lived in crowded and unsanitary conditions. The houses that you see here were not what they would have arrived to. It was over time that the workers were able to improve their surroundings.

Living Room of the Portuguese Home 

Many of the Homes Had Some Type of Religious Shrine in Their Living Rooms

Kitchen in the Portuguese Home

Outside Oven

The portuguese were famous for their breads. And many of them after leaving the plantations started up their own bakeries. Most famous of the breads, we call Portuguese sweet bread or Pao Doce. Here is a wonderful website that has the recipe for the bread if you would like to try.
My kids are part Portuguese and I remember my mother in law saying that they would bake the bread with an egg in the middle. I’ve never seen that. In fact the Portuguese sweet bread you get now days has no comparison with that of the past generations.
Getting back to the front porch. My friend, who was sitting and resting, sees a little girl in a white dress walking along the dark path by herself. She called out to the child. Where is your mother? You shouldn’t be out by yourself. The little girl looked at her and skipped off.
Later that evening when all the scary cast came together and all the visitors to the “Haunted Plantation” had headed home, stories were told. One story was about the portuguese house. ” A child had died in the home” someone had said. The description of the child was given as she was often seen.
My friend said, “I saw that Child.”

Did she?

Anyway if you would like to read more about the Portuguese in Hawaii here is a site you can check out.
And if you would like to find out more about the Halloween Haunted Plantation here is their website.

Part 3 Stepping Back In Time Waipahu Plantation Village

The plantation village is a conglomeration of restored plantation houses that were transported to this area of Waipahu to be used specifically as a museum. But people did live and worship in these building when they were working on the sugar plantation in the early 1900’s.
The first structure we visit is the Chinese Cookhouse. It is a restored structure originally built in 1906. Unfortunately I did not have time to go back to take photos from the outside as the tour moved on pretty quickly once we got into the village itself.
 The large wood burning stove is inside of the cook house.The small alter in the back houses the “Kitchen God
From the Cook house we head up the steps of the Chinese Society Building. The downstairs was used as a large meeting room for classes, and celebrations such as weddings and birthdays and society celebrations.
 Chinese values made it possible to pull money together to help one another in order to invest in land to begin growing rice. The Chinese would meet at the Society Building to  discuss among other things how to grow their money.
Rather then slave for the sugar growers they were able to raise money without being enslaved to the plantation country store. The sugar company managed to charge many poor workers for everything.  Immigrints never had money at the end of their pay period. Once the Chinese started growing  rice they would use their earnings and profits to help fellow Chinese to start other types of business.
These lemons were on the shelf of the cook house. Till today people preserve lemons like this by leaving them in the sun in large jars. Mixed with Honey and in a hot tea it is the best thing for a sore throat. At least when I’ve used it. It is nothing to eat lemons like this that are as old as 7 years.
The second floor functions as a place of worship that contains an alter with a shrine.

The Shrine dedicated to the Chinese God of War.

It would be to hot to light this furnace here in Hawaii as the weather is so warm but if ever you felt the need to burn some money this would be the ticket. This is where the Chinese burned their “Hell bank note.” It is made from joss paper. Joss paper is made from a papier-mache form of material. This would be used in different ceremonies including funerals.
Many circumstances influenced the Chinese to want to take a chance and immigrate to Hawaii. Civil unrest, the Europeans forcing themselves upon China, and  the Opium Wars were just a few of the events that took place that impacted their decision.
The westerners feared that the Chinese with their ability to grow in business would soon become a threat to them. Out of this fear laws were enacted to limit the immigration of Chinese. The Sugar planters were encourage to broaden the immigration by hiring a multinational labor force and then pit them against each other so that they would not be able to form any kind of union or become a threat.
The Chinese with their ability to pull their money (a hui) eventually moved downtown Honolulu, started business and bought land. As they prospered the plantations started to bring in other nationalities to build up their plantation workers.
The fourth installment will cover the coming of the portuguese and maybe a little ghost story thrown in.
If you would like to read more about the Chinese I recommend this little pamphlet that is packed with information and was helpful in my blog. “Chinese Cookhouse and Society Building. You can acquire it at the Hawaii Plantation Village. Once again this is their website.