Laureen Kukino: A Brief History
Ms. Kukino has a rather unique story. Her life took a crazy, unfortunate turn in 1999. What she thought was going to be another ordinary day playing volleyball, turned out to be quite extraordinary. Standing near a group of people volleying the ball back and forth did not seem so dangerous, until the volleyball hit her in the side of her head – causing her to go legally blind. At first, Ms. Kukino just started seeing a ‘tunnel vision,’ which got increasingly worse, leading her to only salvage a quarter of her left eye’s vision. As one can imagine, this took a lot of strength and adaptation for her to overcome, but she faced it with an extremely positive attitude. While her life seemed to be falling apart, her house followed suit. The house built 92 years ago had been slowly crumbling, with parts of the floor completely fallen through, the roof leaked into every room, and termites and rats took over. This conditions were not safe for anyone to live, especially someone legally blind. When Ms. Kukino came to Honolulu Habitat for Humanity for help, her house was in extremely desolate conditions. Living on disability, she knew there was no way she could qualify for a traditional loan. We knew could help this wonderful lady improve her life by building her a fully ADA compliant home.
The Home Build:
In February, we broke the rain soaked earth to symbolize the beginning of Ms. Kukino's new life in a new home. Over the course of six months, the Honolulu Habitat staff and volunteers got to know and love Ms. Kukino. She charms everyone around her with her hilarious wit, verbal nuances and bright red-lipsticked smile. Her new home reflects the same characteristics of her personality: bright, rose-colored and open to all who want to share her joy. Many hands have had the opportunity to take part in the process of building her home. Global Villagers; AmeriCorps Nationals; Wahine Builds; Honolulu Habitat Staff; and volunteers from Oahu-based companies, churches, and the military have all taken time to share their time and skills to help Ms. Kukino's dream become a reality.
Now, six months later, on August 4th, we will hand over the house keys to welcome her into her long-awaited new life surrounded by her friends and family. Congratulations Ms. Kukino! We are beyond grateful to have been a part of your journey to home ownership and to have gained another member to our Ohana.