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  • Writer's pictureMrs. B

Ota Camp

Updated: Sep 18, 2022

What I considered my childhood home was a small, plantation-style, elevated on stilts, mango tree in the front yard, a porch with a chair on it where my grandpa would sit, plumeria tree on the sides, prefabrication home in Waipahu.

The story of how Ota Camp was founded is the story I was told by my grandfather Alfred Ganigan Sr. He would tell me with a white owl cigar in his mouth, “This land we had to fight for”. When I was a child, I didn’t have a clue to what he was talking about… I know NOW. Here is a little History of Ota Camp. The old or original Ota Camp- Makibaka was located behind the St. Joseph Church in Waipahu. It was a dirt road with homes scattered in odd places and their back yards was the river. I remember going there a lot when I was a little girl. All my dad’s friends gathered there and that is where they had chickens, a pig farm, a lady that sold random Filipino desserts and parties. That was the place that if my dad was missing for a few hours or days we knew to look there.

In the 1970s, the people of Makibaka were evicted from their homes by developer Rex Blackburn. The residence did not agree to live in the apartments that were to be built. The families wanted the barrio lifestyle that they were used to living. The farm life… the unity… the Filipino, Hawaiian lifestyle not apartment living. They were relocated to an urban plot of land behind an industrial area. 31 families were given homes, they paid $300.00 a month. The cost was kept low so that the families could afford it. If you google Ota Camp you can read the whole story and the fight of Ota Camp. It is very remarkable, and after reading multiple articles it made me sad and proud at the same time.

Our home in Ota Camp is my foundation. The walls, the mango tree in the front, the porch that my grandfather sat, the tall cabinets that we played hide in seek in and the memories will always be a sweet, divine, souvenir. In 2003 the opportunity was brought to the 31 families to finally own our land and house. I paid the balance to finally own our property. Unfortunately, my grandpa was not here to see this physically. My dad on the other hand was so proud. The home was not built to last and over the years it began to crumble. When my dad came to live with us in 2011 our focus was solely on him. My dad passed away in 2012 and the house needed to be demolished. It has been 9 years since his passing and we are finally ready for this to take place. This is a new journey for the Ganigan’s and new memories will be made, but we will never forget our foundation. This land was a gift to us, it is my honor to keep this in my family.

RIP Alfred Ganigan Sr.

RIP Andrew Ganigan

RIP Alfred Ganigan Jr.

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