Horton Hears a Who at the Transfer Station

You may well be asking about now, what the hell does Dr Seuss have in common with this LIP and Kauai?

If you have been up to the North Shore of Kauai you will indeed find some colorful characters there but I am thinking of something a little more down to earth-very down to earth. So down to earth it is……well, it’s the “dump”.

One of my service tasks on the Sanctuary is the cathartic experience of taking things to the dump- or the transfer station, or the refuse station, or whatever title one creatively comes up with.

So before your mind breaks, there IS a correlation between Dr. Seuss and the refuse station here in Kapaa. It is how one person made a big difference. You remember the story of Horton, where just one more little voice made the difference in being heard and thus saved Whoville from certain destruction.

This is not as dramatic but I just gotta take a few minutes out of my life and praise a person whose name I don’t even know, but who is responsible for transforming the Kapaa transfer station from a “dump” to an incredibly conscious environment.

For years Aaron and I would drive up to the home of the giant compactor with our donations- unwanted consumer leftovers or a dead refrigerator who’s fate was to gather with other dead refrigerators and wash machines in a kind of appliance bardo. Things were, shall we say “somewhat untidy”. Certainly no place to have a picnic.

One day we noticed the refrigerators were separated out from the other appliances. In fact all the appliances were organized into their respective sub species of appllianceus domesticus. What’s more, the surrounding grounds were raked and there was no litter. Then we noticed there weren’t several guys hanging out at the office talking on their cell phones, blithely ignoring the clientele. There was this woman! Not your ordinary woman, thank you very much, but a front loader driving, appliance organizing, plant loving, tidy, organized person!

And things only got better. Signs telling you what goes where- just metal over here, recylced oil over there, don’t throw that in the compactor if it’s over three feet or you’re next down the slide. Man, it was great. And now the place just hums. There’s big potted plants outside the office, a small lawn, there is no junk around, just items waiting to continue there transition to recycle heaven or enter the eternal silence of true compaction. People are cheerful as they let go of their refuse. The lady in charge is pretty laid back but you know she changed things by bringing some energy to a situation that nobody else wanted to bring real energy to. And guess what??? It has spread!!! It’s true….

Now the Lihue transfer station is echoing the same clean consciousness and organization of the Kapaa station!. They got it together and even have a dumpster for recycled metal pieces now. Theres a front loader on standby to keep the regular product moving . And best yet, there’s a life size plastic dog laying by the flagpole in the middle of a well cropped lawn outside the office where people make sure the place doesn’t –you know—look like a dump.

So that is my Hawaii shout out to one person who made a difference in a lot of peoples lives. Perhaps not something the Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded for (although some certain political parties may snidely say it is more than the last person did who got one) but it certainly is an occurrence that has my appreciation and respect. And in case you are wondering, we have indeed told her how great the place looks!

Thanks for taking some LIP from me,


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