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  Talk story from Camp 4 Kauai, Hawaii   

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Camp 4 was a sugar plantation village for the workers of the Olokele Sugar Plantation on the island of Kauai, Hawaii.The camp no longer exists having been converted to sugar cane fields in the late 1940's. Camp 4 was populated by Japanese, and Filipino families, and some single Chinese men who lived in communal houses at several locations in the camp.

.There were 7 camps in all. Camps 1, and 4 were off the main highway, while the others were located within the cane fields far away from the main highway. The sugar mill was located at the end of a road that came off the main highway. Opposite this road was another that led to the Plantation manager's houses set among sprawling grounds. All the camps were converted to sugar cane fields at the same time as Camp 4.

A boundary road defined the size of camp 4, with several roads within the camp that separated the upper and lower camp.The roads were all dirt roads, and when it rained the water turned red from the "Olokele red dirt". The color of the dirt was so concentrated that when we went to other parts of Kauai, the other islanders would know that we came from Olokele just by looking at our feet. Even our clothes, if we played or worked in the dirt, would leave traces of the red color even after several washings.

After all those years of washing the red dirt off our feet, and clothes, some clever entrepreneurs cashed in by staining the dirt on Tee shirts, and selling them as "KAUAI RED DIRT" shirts. If only we were that smart!!

Our house was a typical plantation house with a wood frame, and siding, and a corrugated metal roof. All the houses were built off the ground so there was a crawl space, some high enough that we could play under the house, or use it as storage space.

Every house had an outhouse in the backyard, and at night the sound of the seat being slammed against the opening could be heard as one tried to shoo the cockroaches from tickling your behind. Also, a small concrete lined ditch ran along the back of the house with water constantly running through it so you could take a pee without going to the outhouse.

There was also a wooden framed bath house with a corrugated metal roof  in the back. Inside, there was about a four feet square wooden tub lined inside with metal to store bath water. Outside, and underneath this tub was an opening where a fire could be built to heat the bath water. Baggasse, the after product from grinding the sugar cane was burned in this opening. The baggasse came in hay- like bundles, and were delivered by the Plantation trucks to each household every week.

In the bath house, we would sit on wooden stools and wash ourselves outside the tub and then get hot water from the tub for rinsing. Sometimes, after everyone had finished taking a bath, my brothers and I would go in the tub for a soak.The problem with this was that  soaking , and playing in the tub created leaks in the metal lining and it took some time for repairs to be made.

After the camps were converted to sugar cane fields, most of the displaced families relocated to the new houses built in Kaumakani. The houses were basically all the same, wooden framed, with a corrugated metal roof on a concrete slab foundation. The biggest difference was indoor bathrooms. No outhouses, and no burning burning of baggasse to heat the bath water. All the houses had a yard, but they were built so close together that the running joke was the next door house's cooking smelled so good that you would want to eat there.

After all these years, Kaumakani now is far removed from what it was. The houses all show their age, from the sun bleached paint on the outside, to the many cars, running, or otherwise, on the pothole filled roads. The supermarket, and the popular bakery store in it, and the post office are still there, but long gone is the movie theater that drew crowds from the west side of Kauai.