In the past, both patients and visitors to Kalawao and Kalaupapa wrote about their impressions and experiences. First-hand accounts reveal how people felt about being sent to this remote place, and of the conditions they faced. The following quotes offer some insight into patient life as seen from the standpoint of the patients themselves.
“On the night of the 4th day of January 1879 about seven p.m. I with 11 other fellow sufferers were lined up in two by two file by our jailer (each of us carrying our own baggage) guarded on each side by a squad of policemen were taken from the leper detention station...and put aboard the SS Mokolii lying along side the pier at the foot of Fort Street. After a half-hour wait for two Government Officials, Sam G. Wilder President of the Board of Health and Dr. N.B. Emerson newly appointed first resident physician of the Leper Settlement of Kalawao. When they arrived and came aboard the steamer the line was cast off, the steamer moved out into the harbor and steamed out to sea bound for Molokai and arrived off Kalaupapa the next morning 7 a.m. when the steamer anchored we entered a row boat with the two officials and rowed to the Kalaupapa landing and put ashore and [were] received by the local officials of the Leper Settlement. After our names, ages and places we hailed from were taken down, left on the rocky shore without food and shelter. No houses provided by the then Government for the like of us outcasts.”
- Ambrose T. Hutchison, resident in the settlement from 1879-1932
“Deaths occur quite frequently here, almost daily. Napela [Mormon elder and assistant supervisor of the Kalaupapa Settlement] last week rode around the beach to inspect the lepers and came on to one that had no Pai for a week but manage to live on what he could find in his Hut, anything chewable. His legs were so bad that he cannot walk, and few traverse the spot whare his hut stands, but fortunate enough for him that he had sufficient enough water to last him till aid came and that not too late, or else brobably he must have died."
- Peter Kaeo, cousin of Queen Emma, in a letter to Queen Emma, August 11, 1873