Kupuna Life: Catholic Charities Hawaii hosts group for West Oahu

Kupuna Life

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Supporting each other through thick and thin, especially during this pandemic. That’s what a group of kupuna on the westside of Oahu continue to do with the help of technology.

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Twice a month, a group of kupuna meet to talk story and share laughs.

“It’s a great thing. It gives us something to look forward to,” said Ramona Carter, Catholic Charities Hawaii’s Kupuna Group member.

It’s also a place where they can talk about serious issues including health insurance coverage, transportation needs and maintaining relationships. 

“Sometimes it’s not easy to tell your story, but when it comes out, you feel much better. You’re unloading, because it’s baggage, and sometimes it’s a lot of baggage,” said Dale Oamil, group member.

These are some of the women who belong to Catholic Charities Hawaii’s Kupuna Group. It’s open to all kupuna who live on the westside of Oahu. It started in 2014, as a way to socialize and bond.
“Because many of them normally get on the Handi-Van to get to doctors, dialysis or stores, and as then turn back on property, they get off the van and go straight into their unit,” said Fanchon Keamo-Young with Catholic Charities Hawaii.

They used to meet in person and do activities, including painting and a Christmas Kupuna Ball. But because of this pandemic, they meet virtually, every other Thursday. 

“It’s just helping out one another and keeping close and having the meetings every other week. I enjoy it, I love it, I couldn’t have asked for anything better. And if I couldn’t come, I get very angry at myself,” Carter said.

“It kind of breaks the monotony in your life. As Ramona was saying, we’re all isolating, in quarantine actually, listening to each other’s story, it brings you together to know you’re there for one another,” said Paulette Dibibar, group member.

The group has gotten smaller during this time because not everyone has the technology to meet virtually. But those who can, say it provides a valuable outlet.

“Even if you had a rotten day and didn’t want to get out of the bed that day, or you’re thinking ‘Oh God, what am I going to do today?’ Because can’t go out, so the thing is looking forward to seeing everybody is a good way to help you. It’s therapy,” Oamil said.

“Love you guys,” Carter said.

If you’d like to help support Catholic Charities Hawaii’s Kupuna Group with technology, so more people can keep up with the group virtually, you can call (808) 520-7721. If you or someone you know is interested in joining the group, you can call (808) 527-4470.

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