Adah Fitzgerald, A Maui Surfer Girl
One year ago, my husband Bo and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary in Maui. It was, without hyperbole, the trip of a lifetime. While there, we had a fabulous dinner at Lahaina Grill and stayed above the restaurant at Hotel Lahaina.
Both establishments were vaporized in the August wildfire that destroyed Lahaina town and its surrounding communities.
The losses are incomprehensibly staggering. At least 2200 buildings were destroyed. As of today, at least 111 people have been confirmed dead, a number expected to rise as the search through the rubble slowly continues. Thousands of survivors have nothing more than what they could grab in the 10 minutes’ notice they were given ahead of imminent destruction: the clothes they were wearing, maybe a wallet.
While donated supplies have poured in to help those in shelters, the long road ahead is equally incomprehensible. Most brick-and mortar businesses in downtown Lahaina are completely gone, along with the livelihoods they provided. Cultural landmarks have vanished. Homes that made memories and community for indigenous Hawaiian families for generations have completely disappeared.
My heart is so heavy for the people of Maui.
On our anniversary trip, I took a soul-filling surf lesson with Maui Surfer Girls, a woman-owned, kama’aina-owned business. Most of their surf instructors lost everything. Seven households, gone. I’ve donated directly to a fundraising effort supporting Maui Surfer Girls.
We also took a wonderful snorkel tour with Sail Trilogy based in Lahaina. Several Sail Trilogy captains returned to Lahaina after the fire and discovered that while they lost one of their beautiful catamarans, two boats were moored safely out of the fire’s reach. The special thing about these boats is that they land on the beach to load passengers. The captains sailed right up the coast to begin what would become days of near constant round trips bringing survivors out of Lahaina. I’ve also donated directly to a fundraising effort supporting Sail Trilogy employees.
f you would like to help support relief efforts in Maui, Mutual Aid has become an increasing popular and effective way to cut through the red-tape of disaster recovery to support people in need. If you’re interested in making mutual aid donations, find out more here.
Lastly, our friend and fellow Davidson alum, Jane Mount, has created an art print of Hawai’ian books as a fundraiser for several Maui Fire support funds. As a Maui resident, Jane is on the front lines. As a book lover, this is the perfect bookish way to support the recovery. Mine shipped to me earlier this week!