Spirit of the Village: A Maui Memoir is an autobiography set in a sugar plantation camp on Maui, Hawai’i during the 1950’s and 1960’s. Plantation camps were neighborhoods for immigrant laborers who worked for the sugar companies since the beginning of the 20th century. The camps were separated according to ethnicity, scattered throughout island landscapes, and housed thousands of laborers and their families.
This memoir by author Jackie Pias Carlin recalls her early life and experiences in the setting of Orpheum Camp, once located off Baldwin Avenue in upper Pa’ia. She shares her childhood filled with superstitions, extended families and family secrets. The backdrops of old Maui and local voices add to the charm and mystery of the bygone days of “camp life” in Hawai’i and it not only evokes the inner strength of the sakadas (farm workers) and their wives, images of life and conditions in the plantation camps, and of multi-cultural relationships, it has also become the author’s quest for self-discovery.
In this Centennial Year of the Filipino in Hawai’i, Spirit of the Village: A Maui Memoir brings to the reader, a nostalgic, stirring, and moving account of a young Filipina growing up in a Hawaiian plantation town, struggling with cultural acceptance and identity, family crises, and a developing Maui on the brink of social and economic change. It is also a reflection of the Filipino community and of the many contributions they have made in making Hawai’i a truly special place.