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.

Walk a Mile in My Shoes Part 5 of The Waipahu Plantation Village

Somehow when I look at this photo, even though this is a re-creation of a bedroom, I feel a real emptiness. It is not because the room is sparsely furnished. I look at the Religious piece hanging on the wall over the bed, a connection to a past life in Korea.  A woman in a strange land, and more then likely no temple to worship at. What takes it’s place? Who do you listen to when you need words of encouragement, a spiritual uplifting during a very hard and difficult time? Do they confide in their neighbors or their spouses? Do they go to their rooms and try to take solace in the environment so far removed from what they knew? Did the woman after a day in the field covered with red dirt, a back that ached with pain from not being able to stand or stretch without fear of verbal of  physical abuse from the luna as he rode his horse back and forth, take comfort in her meager treasures? The “Man’ getting ten dollars worth of work out of someone who is paid pennies for his or her back breaking labor did not think of the immigrants as people but only a number.

Late in the evening did she sit on her bed and stare at the beautiful dress that symbolized who she once was when she lived in Korea did she look at her hands and feet stained with dirt and weep at the site of her cracked nails? Did she count her blisters?
Or maybe she was one of the women who took the initiative to make or do something that could be supplied to other plantation workers.
 In the above photo you can see the crocks that were used to make Kim Chee. Some type of radish or cabbage grows in the back ground. Making this particular food might have provided her with an extra income if she was able to sell it to the other immigrants not of her nationality.  Maybe if there were bachelors living around her they would have bought some too.
This vegetable dish is eaten with all types of foods much like a relish or chile might be eaten. Here in Hawaii locals have adopted  it as their own. They love to eat it with stew, chile beans, breakfast, lunch and what ever your taste buds will tolerate. A variety of vegetables are used some of which are radishes, bok choy, and other leafy greens. If you are daring here are some recipes you might want to try.
Not being Korean I did not take too quickly to Kim Chee and it does leave your mouth smelling like a dragons breath. But once you’ve acquired a taste for it, it becomes part of your everyday table condiments. Set the stew and rice on the table. Hey, where’s the kim Chee?

Rice Bag Curtains

If she was able to acquire a rice bag when buying rice the bag would have been made into curtains, shorts or shirts or made into anything that cloth could be sewn into. For awhile back in the 1960’s and 1970’s it was a fad to wear shorts made from rice bags as rice was still being sold in their cloth sacks. Now that’s a thing of the past and the bags have become collectors items. Here is a site that sells them with manufactured prints.
Inside The Korean Kitchen
Do you cook ethnic food? Have you ever been to an area where they just don’t carry the right ingredient you need to make a favorite family dish? What did this woman do after a day in the field and coming home to cook? When the immigrants first arrived how did they cook foods from their homelands?

Items that could be found in a Korean Household

Shoes that would have been worn but not out to the field. Maybe the straw shoes were made in the camp to be worn around the house. I did not get information on those things.
We can read history to find out what people experienced, we can look at pictures  and try to put ourselves in their place, but we will never actually know what it was like until we have walked a mile in those shoes.

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.


Waipahu Sugar Plantation Village

 This particular series is from another blog I have and thought that those of you who have not seen it would enjoy reading about the Plantation Village

Part 1 of The Waipahu Plantation Village

The clock says 10 AM. I’ve got till 1:30 before picking up my grandson at school. Last minute I decide to tour the Plantation Village fifteen minutes from my house. My car winds down the short curvy road and descends into the parking lot. I head for the office to pay for the tour.

As she hands me my ticket, the woman at the desk takes me to a small curtained area and turns on a TV and puts in a video that’s she suggest I watch before I take my tour.

The clock is ticking and I’m getting cold sitting in the air-conditioned area. Since I am familiar with what the tape is talking about I decide to take a look around the museum before the tour guide takes us out to the houses.

As I leave the video area the guide approaches me and we join the other tourist waiting to take the tour. I’m happy as he enters the museum as I was afraid I would not have time to see it after we finished our tour.

But as it turned out we were given a lecture on the order in which the immigrants came to Hawaii. Now I have nothing against that, it was just that the clock was ticking and I was not sure we would make it to the village itself before I had to leave as we stayed in the museum for half an hour.

I snapped these photos of the clothing that the sugar workers wore into the fields as the lecture went on

Perhaps these are a container for water and a lunch pail. The guide didn’t know as he started to lead us out of the museum and I didn’t have time to read any signs

I had to make the choice take photos or listen as we were moving out of the museum. I snapped photos as we quickly exited out.

The fabrics for these gowns worn in the 1920’s were quite beautiful. I thought that the immigrants that worked in the fields had no money because it all went to the company store. So I’m not sure if these were actually worn by the immigrant brides. I didn’t have time to look at the information on the gowns.

Detail on one of the gowns

Chinese immigrants who would soon be working in the sugar cane fields

A Chinese Immigrant family

Then there were the Hawaiians who were taken from their lands only to become laborers for the sugarcane growers who managed to take over.

The Hawaiians were once superb agriculturist. Captain Cook was impressed with how large and healthy their plants grew. When the plantations sprang up they told the Hawaiians that they needed to learn the American farmers way of growing food as they thought the Hawaiians were ignorant barbarians. Aside from being fabulous farmers, Hawaiians had the highest literacy rate in the world during the 1800’s. Far from being barbarians.

So after almost an hour we finely leave the museum and head out to the village. I’m finely going to see the insides of the houses.

To be continued. We head out into the light.

If you would like to get information on the Village here is the site address