An Immigrant’s Dream is Realized

Frances Kakugawa
and Karleen Chinen

Editor’s note: As most of you know, Frances Kakugawa, The Hawai‘i Herald’s “Dear Frances” columnist, was born in Kapoho on Hawai‘i Island, where she spent her early childhood. The eruption of Kïlauea Volcano in 1955 forced her family to relocate to nearby Pähoa, where they began a new life and quickly became calabash ‘ohana to Alberto Aguinaldo, a young, hard-working immigrant from the Philippines. Shortly after Kïlauea Volcano began erupting in full force in May, Frances sent me a heartwarming story about her family’s ties to the Aguinaldo family.

I Googled the name of Alberto’s only child, Gilbert Aguinaldo, and found a West Hawaii Today news story about a village of 20 micro-units in Pähoa that Gilbert had played a major role in developing for people who had been forced to flee their homes. I recalled watching news stories about how that village had sprung to life in the span of a day and reflecting on what is possible when people put their hearts, minds and hands together for the good of the community.

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