Hawaiians’ response to shutdown is family-focused

By Andrew Allen

As I write, the island of Hawaii has zero active cases of coronavirus.

Yes, we are still sheltering in place at home until the end of the month, along with a 14-day quarantine for visitors to the state. Things are slowly turning on, but the vast majority are in favor of a slow rollout.

The culture here values life and understands that you can’t un-bury the dead, but we can always rebuild the economy, when it’s time.

A common phrase or belief here is that “we shall stay apart now so no one is missing when we come back together.”

You see, “Aloha” is more than a casual greeting to sell you a trinket at the giftshop; it’s a living philosophy of how we treat one another.

We live in rural Hawaii and things are tough for a lot of people. But what helps them get through the tough times are their ohana, their family. And by family, not just blood relations. For that reason, everyone is important.

So while it’s inconvenient for all of the cautions being taken, Hawaii is working to make sure everyone is truly safe, even the guests, once we have systems in place for their return.

We look forward to the days when Aloha is truly being spread to visitors again.

But for now, ask who is your ohana? Is the minor discomfort of wearing a mask or not getting a haircut more painful than potentially losing a loved one or close friend?

We moved here less than two years ago and can tell you it’s not the resorts that make the islands special. It is a culture that looks out for everyone and wishes no one is missing when we finally return to welcoming the world.

So help us with our ohanas by looking out for those you claim as your ohaha, your family and your community.

This too shall pass and I hope all of those I count as my ohana and extended ohana will be able to come together without anyone missing.

 – Andrew Allen and his family are former Sweet Home residents who now live in a rural area of the Big Island of Hawaii.