How much do you want? — Mr. Burns
A million dollars and three Hawaiian islands! Good ones, not the leper one. — Homer, “Rosebud”
Kalaupapa is the name of one of two colonies on the Hawaiian island of Molokai to which all leprosy/Hansen’s disease sufferers were sent for much of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Nice, right? Along with its sister site, Kalawao, also on the island, the Kalaupapa village housed/imprisoned the lepers up until 1969.
Today, years after the eradication of leprosy (hopefully), Molokai itself is quite the tourist destination. But Jack London’s account of the place and its inhabitants during the Golden Age of Leprosy remains a worthy read.
The shadowy figure in the center is Father Damien, a Catholic priest who dedicated sixteen years of his life to caring for the Kalaupapa lepers up until his death in 1889. Guess how he died. That’s leprosy for you.