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Founding a Hawaii Center for Baba's Treasures

(Extracted from writings of Stan Alapa)

The Move to Molokai

The early years of the seventies were the honeymoon years for Stan in his work for Baba. But in trying to live for Baba, gradually Stan's life style changed and so did his financial situation. At the end of 1971, he and Shirley sold the nightclub and Stan embarked on a series of entrepreneurial efforts centered around sales in one form or another that would characterize Stan's work ethic and financial woes for the rest of his lifetime. Always there was the continual hope that some break-through would bring in the necessary monies to get Baba's Center off the ground.

Meanwhile, Shirley was establishing herself in a successful hair-dressing career for the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Toward the mid seventies, construction was begun on a new hotel on the west end of Molokai, and because The Royal Hawaiian was under management of this same chain, (Sheraton Hotel and Resorts), Shirley was asked if she would start a beauty salon on Molokai. She chose to do this by hiring staff for the Molokai salon, keeping her Royal Hawaiian job on Oahu, and commuting to Molokai on weekends.

Shirley kept this up for two years, and then, toward the end of 1977, opening up a second shop in Kaunakakai, she decided to move to Molokai permanently. By 1978, both she and Stan were settled into a small but cozy plantation cottage, in an upland area of the island called Kipu.

Housing the Treasures

At first, Baba's treasures were carefully set out in one of the small cottage bedrooms, but later, Stan built an addition onto the front room. Here he set aside an alcove especially for the chair, the cushion, and a tall floor case of wood and class made to house the other relics. To all who were fortunate to visit their home during these years, the atmosphere of Beloved Baba's presence in this room was especially sweet.

The Hawaiian Homestead Lands

When Stan made the decision to relocate to Molokai, he opened up his own real estate office and took advantage of his right as a native Hawaiian, to claim homestead lands for himself and his three daughters, a contiguous parcel of five acres. He describes the land he selected as "virgin land" having a water meter for irrigation already in place. To supplement the meager real estate market, he decided to go into the organic farming business and borrowed money to build a storage and packing shed, put in an irrigation system, and plant Ironwood trees all around the perimeter as a windbreak. But even as the only organic farmer on the island at that time, Stan found marketing the crops even harder than growing them.

Five years later, in 1984, Stan became an island commuter, renting an apartment in Honolulu where he could more easily find work, and returning to Molokai on weekends.

For years, the work of developing a Center was put on hold as the emphasis shifted to a need for funds. Always, however, Stan was keeping a lookout for the perfect location, and visiting friends would often be whisked off for a ride to look at the latest potential piece of property. But it was not until several years had passed that it became clear what piece of property this would be: the homestead. It had been right under Stan's nose all along, and at last a real Center would grow on it.

The Hawaiian economy, especially in terms of agribusiness, had been in slow, steady freefall for years, and by 1997, the pineapple and sugarcane plantations were pulling out of Molokai. The company on whose land Stan and Shirley's little Kipu cottage stood, told the tenants that they would no longer be able to keep up the infrastructure which allowed the people to continue living there. Each tenet was free to choose a meager buy out or to move their homes to other locations if they could. In this circumstance, Stan and Shirley turned out to be luckier than most of their neighbors. Like them, they had little funds, but unlike them, they had a piece of property they could go to.

Moving to the Homestead

But the homestead land had lain empty and fallow for many years, and there was nothing on the land for them to live in. Ultimately, it proved untenable to have their cottage moved down the narrow, windy roads from Kipu, so Stan began to take it apart and use the materials to build a new one on the homestead site. From the start, how to do this necessarily involved the consideration and safety of Baba's precious things. Suddenly Baba's timing seemed clear! Here was virgin land with water near an ocean, easily accessible. Here was land especially dedicated to the Hawaiian peoples. Here was undeveloped land that contained so many possibilities. Here it seemed, Baba meant his Center to be.  But when Stan finally loaded up his truck with the all the Baba treasures to make the move to their new home, he felt the presence and the sadness of the Kipu "uhanes" to see them go.  "Don't leave." they pleaded as they rocked the truck.

At Last, A Center

Stan was no longer a young man, but he was an energetic one, a talented one, and as dedicated to his cause as he had always been. He set about drawing up plans for a Center that could meet the needs of the future. He designed and built a fresh and cozy cottage just big enough to house Baba's treasures and give himself and Shirley a roof over their heads. He took earlier blueprints of a dreamhouse they had once hoped to build and figured out how to integrate it into the larger scheme. He began to expand the original shed into a structure for future guest rooms. He set up for plumbing and electricity and laid out a main entrance and road that circles into a central parking area. He decided that a focus of the Center would be growing things and he planted flowers and exotic fruit trees and sectioned off an area for edible crops. He already had a wonderful headstart as the Ironwood trees had grown up tall and full and healthy. Not only did they bound the property giving it a serene sense of privacy, but they defined the internal sections of the land as well. He envisioned an area for the arts, an area for meditation, a library and reading rooms and a big meeting hall. Quietly, he worked on this weekend after weekend, a lone man expending all his sweat and labor building the reality of his dreams.

When Stan had first entertained the idea of leaving Oahu and obtaining homestead lands on Molokai, Murshida Duce included in a note to Shirley:

I do not feel that Stanley should be sad about homesteading in Molokai. I pioneered most of my life, and I think it will be a very good thing to have a Baba lover in the initial stages of the Molokai development. We never really know how the Hierarchy can use us as long as we remain devoted to Baba.

It seems that Stan hung on just long enough to fulfill the promise laden in these words. Murshida had said, "Baba never makes anything easy for us and you will have to go through the same route as all of us, biding your time for what you'd like to have" Baba does his own work and in the end, Stan's homestead lands provided the key to Baba's own plans to have a Center for His work in Hawaii. Baba used Stan for this work, and when Stan could at last see the promise of his years of labor for the Beloved's cause coming to fruition under his very hands and before his very eyes, his work of this lifetime was complete. On November 29th, 2001, when Stan concluded this work in this lifetime, all that remained was a "Well done" and Welcome Home in the arms of his Beloved Akua, Avatar Meher Baba.  Maikahi, e como mai.


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