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While some Lahaina survivors return, others take solace in the surf

With the road to Lahaina now open, some survivors are returning — while others head to the beach for a day of healing and emotional relief.
While some Lahaina survivors return, others take solace in the surf
Posted at 4:05 PM, Aug 17, 2023

Even under openly blue skies, there was a cloud of sorrow that hovered over Lahaina. 

From a perch above the dust and ash overlooking Lahaina, Wayne Matsuda was able to see what was left of his family's 56-year home for the first time.

It was just one story of the hundreds that were told as many survivors took their first step toward closure now that Lahaina's main road is open. And while some allowed themselves to sit in the waves of emotion — others let them wash to shore.

It might seem odd that in the midst of what is happening around Maui people could even find the time or energy to do something like surf, but for anyone who knows what it means to grow up here, they know this is exactly what some in the community — particularly their kids — could use.

Tamara and Kevin Daprosa lost their home in the Lahaina fire, but rather than return to their source of grief, they and other survivors of the Maui fires chose to paddle toward their communal source of healing. Scripps News spoke with the Daprosas and other survivors at Ho'okipa Beach, on the north shore of Maui.

SEE MORE: Maui latest: Death toll rises, schools reopen, new storm threats

"Our son is angry and he's confused, and he's 8 years old and doesn't know how to express himself, and so being in the water and being with his friends ... He's actually opening up to his friends more than adults right now about his loss, so any way that he can bond with his friends and be with other kids is actually going to help him process this," said Tamara Daprosa. 

They know it may not be a cure, but if it gets their kids to laugh and have fun, they know it's a step in the right direction. They will return to the long road that awaits, knowing no matter how hard the tide tries to drag them under, they'll come up for air once more.

"We're here and I believe we will survive this. I can't say it's not as bad as it sounds because it is an overwhelming ordeal that we all have to deal with, but I don't want people to give up hope, and realize that we're still here and we're not going anywhere," said Wayne Matsuda. 

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