Personal Stories —
‘Ohana Connections

Until just a few years ago, 28-year-old Ian Chun had no idea he had ties to Kalaupapa. Now, those ties have multiplied – and grown even stronger. Not long after Chun learned that his great-uncle, Isaac Keao, was buried at Kalaupapa, he became the second recipient of the annual Ann and Makia Malo Scholarship that helped him attend medical school.

Makia Malo (left) and Ian Chun at the
2004 ‘Ohana annual meeting at Kalaupapa

“When I first saw my uncle’s grave, it was just an overwhelming feeling,” said Chun, who was raised in Haleiwa on Oahu. “When I touched it, I felt this mana coming from there, a kind of peace, like I had returned and gotten a blessing from my uncle.
“I just started crying. I could barely stand up, but it was a wonderful feeling. It was kind of like I had come home.”

But Chun’s ties to the community were only just beginning. One Sunday morning in 2002, he was startled to hear a beautiful voice chanting outside his home. He opened the door to find Makia Malo, clutching a bouquet of balloons, with the news that Chun had been selected to receive a scholarship to help him attain his goal of becoming a country doctor.

“When I met him in the driveway, again, it was that overwhelming feeling, but also one of peace, like I was being told that I was on the right path,” said Chun. “Getting to know Makia has been so incredible, it’s like I have another uncle and I’m part of another `ohana.

“Every time I see him, it’s like renewing that family bond.”
Malo and his wife, Ann, began awarding their annual scholarships in 2001 to Native Hawaiians who want to study medicine, dentistry or law.

Last year, Chun strengthened his ties to Kalaupapa when he attended the two-day annual meeting of Ka `Ohana O Kalaupapa. He’s proud to be a young adult who is committed to help the community today and to be involved in the preservation of the history.

“The ‘Ohana represents another link, another extension of what I’m learning about my uncle and his family at Kalaupapa,” said Chun. “I want to be part of that family now. I want to make sure the knowledge and the stories of the elders here are passed down to the next generation.”

Chun, a graduate of The Kamehameha Schools and Stanford University, has started his fourth year of medical school at the University of Hawaii. He hopes to graduate in May and begin his residency soon after.

Is there a chance he could someday be a doctor at Kalaupapa, caring for the kupuna he so admires?

“That would be fantastic,” he said.Makia Malo (left) and Ian Chun at the 2004 ‘Ohana annual meeting at Kalaupapa

 

(above) An unidentified musician from Kalaupapa’s past, draped in leis, poses with his elegant violin. Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa was formed to honor and to perpetuate the memories of all the 8,000 people or so who were exiled to the peninsula.

“When I first saw my uncle’s grave, it was just an overwhelming feeling… When I touched it, I felt this mana coming from there, a kind of peace.”

Ian Chun


Copyright © 2007. Ka Ohana O Kalaupapa. All rights reserved.

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