Molokai family finally gets homestead land

Wednesday, August 25, 2010 By Megan Stephenson

At Home on the Homestead

Molokai family finally gets homestead land.

After 37 long years of waiting for Hawaiian homestead land, Judy Caparida still has a smile on her face.

“I’m the kind of person that whatever comes, comes,” she said, standing in front of her new house in Ho`olehua. “We’ve had a lot of challenges, we’ve had plans, [and] then they don’t work out. [We] let the Lord work it out for us.”

One of the challenges Caparida and her husband Cappy faced was finding a contractor. After 35 years on the Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL) wait list, they were awarded a lot in Ho`olehua – although they had requested a lot on Molokai’s east side. Judy said officials told her they would not be awarding east side lots in her lifetime.

In the two years that followed, the Caparidas met with seven different contractors – but none could commit. Then they met Shannon Au, owner of Molokai-based Auco Construction.

Au said he normally does remodelings and refurbishments, but he builds about four houses a year from the ground up.

“Every time is different; I like to build for people and get to know them as friends,” he said. When he met with the Caparidas, he said he fell in love with their story, and agreed to build their house.

Judy and Cappy Caparida (far right) sing and bless their new house with the help of family, friends, and their contractor, Shannon Au (left).

Judy and Cappy Caparida (far right) sing and bless their new house with the help of family, friends, and their contractor, Shannon Au (left).Judy said while they were the first to choose their lot in the 2008 lottery, they were the last to build. However, thanks to Au, they were the first in their lottery to finish their three-bedroom, two-bathroom house.

“Such a long wait and poof – its here,” she laughed.

Last weekend, Au and the Caparidas offered an open house event, so their friends, family and neighbors could see what they had been so patient for. They also stressed the open house was for fellowship. Cappy is the pastor of Gospel Shoes of Christ Jesus, a church founded by Judy’s father, Walter Naki.

The Caparidas have lived on the east side of Molokai all their lives, but are not daunted to move to the drier west end.

“We were fishermen and hunters, and now we’re going to be farmers,” she said. “It’s a big change, now I don’t see the ocean anymore.”

Not to worry – Cappy has been commissioned to build his wife a fountain, so she can hear the water closer to their new home.

At 81, Cappy said he knew he would see this day, and thanks the Lord for it.

“We are grateful for Shannon and his working men; [that] God, Jesus made it possible to make our home, for the future of our children,” Judy said.