May 3, 2018 marked a moment in history, as Kilaeua Volcano erupted.
Lava spewed through the Leilani Estates subdivision on the Big Island for months.
Hundreds of homes were lost, many were spared. Now things are slowly returning to normal… though there are challenges.
Those able to move back say they’re happy to be home. But with it comes a slew of other emotions.
“Just to be here – it’s like missing a family member. We love our place,” said Ann Kalber.
There’s the feeling of uncertainty:
“We are in a stage where we are always kind of nervous, still, living in Leilani. If I feel like an earthquake, I become very nervous. Maybe there’s another eruption coming,” said Yutaka Wada, whose home is blocks away from Fissure 8.
Then there’s “awe” for how much the neighborhood has changed.
“We have this big lava field pretty close to us. It’s just different. People have a different backyard now. It’s totally surreal. I went down there yesterday on a little jog. It’s mind blowing. Fissure 8… it’s incredibly beautiful. Its like, wow. What’s next?” said Cayenne Carocci.
Residents say there are still concerns for air quality and water quality, as many homeowners use catchment tanks that have been compromised due to vog.
And there’s questions of new visitors to the neighborhood once the check points come down. At midnight on December 6, county officials say two checkpoints will come down in Leilani Estates. The first is on Highway 132 near Nanawale, and on Highway 130 at Leilani Avenue.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen. I know from experience there’s gonna be a lot of people looking at it. But will it be overwhelming? Who knows,” said Mick Kalber.