In the early morning of June 5th, 2018, my entire community of Kapoho was inundated by Lava. No shit, my home, garden, and livelihood were all covered in 2000 degree Earth-Juice. I was able to grab my core belongings, but left most of my life expecting to be able to return several months later. I wasn’t insured properly so I’ve been zero-summed down to a few bags, heirlooms, and hands tools.
It’s hard to relay into words what it’s like losing everything I’ve worked so hard for. It’s hard to look on the bright side, and it’s hard to ask for help, but I’m left with few options. I humbly ask you to please help my semi-sorry-ever-dreaming-ass, the #LavaRefugee, get back in action by buying me a beer, if you’re capable. I obviously don’t need an actual beer; it’s just a small enough figurative donation as not to dent your regular expenditures. Everyone can buy their friend a beer when they’re going through some shit, molten or not. Amiright?!
The back story…
Aloha, I’m Aaron Milewski, a 36 yr old veteran, the youngest of 5 boys, and the son of a Born Again Christian Minister from Buffalo NY. I joined the Army at 17 during the summer of 2000, and was lucky enough to be stationed on the island of Oahu, in Hawaii, until 2005. I moved to the Big Island immediately after my enlistment and bought a shell of an older house in Kapoho. I began working my small plot, planting trees, working on the house, and cultivating my dreams.
I spent the next 6 and a half years traveling all over Iraq/Afghanistan doing I.T. work on base-defense systems. I traded off years at war for paradise a world away. I spent most of my vacations working on my house while looking forward to the day when I could finally be home enjoying the literal fruits of my labor.
I moved home for good late 2015 and created a happy life renting a portion of my home out to vacationers, getting to know my community, cultivating happiness, arranging beach-cleanups, and living front row to some of the most unique spots that ever existed on this planet (Wai O’Pae tide pools and Ahalanui Warm Ponds). I rarely took it for granted. Every fruit, vegetable, and herb I grew was a testament to the land I love.
Around my home and neighborhood...
In Hawaiian culture no one owns the land, we’re all just stewards of it. We can't take any of this with us, but we take good care of it and it will take good care of us; it’s a simple and beautiful relationship (sans lava). We ‘Aloha Aina.’
I don't know what the future holds, but I have faith another opportunity will come along, but in the meantime I hope to start a "lease-to own" somewhere new around Puna, get some trees in the ground, a tiny house (w/ decent sized lanai) built, and get back to being a steward again.
With no expectations, and all the appreciation in the world, thank you for your help.
Any Big Island Ohana seeing this, I need your help re-establishing my garden. Cuttings, grafts, and seedlings of anything that looks, smells, and tastes beautiful. All the local favorites and exclusives are a gift!
….. Please give this a share and if you’re ever here on the Big Island, I’d happily buy you a beer too. ;)
Aloha, mahalo nui loa!
(thank you very much)
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