The three-bedroom, two-bath home at 13-3495 Makamae St. was purchased by Amber Makuakane with her husband, Moses, right after they married.
The Leilani Estates home was where they had two kids before Amber lost her husband a couple of years ago.
“It was my first home, and it was my home that I thought I was going to raise my kids in and spend the rest of my life in,” said the Pahoa Elementary School teacher.
Instead, her home became one of the first five completely consumed by lava in the flows that have increasingly stretched molten fire into Lower Puna. One of the lava fissures emerged directly beneath where her home once stood.
A GoFundMe page was set up Sunday for the single mom who “lost everything” in the Leilani Estates lava flow, according to the fundraiser created by fellow educator Kailina Lewis.
“Amber was born, raised and graduated from Pahoa. Her parents also reside in Leilani Estates and had to evacuate,” the page at gofundme.com/help-amber-rebuild states. Her parents’ home had so far been spared, Makuakane said.
The Hawaii State Teachers Association also passed along the sad news of the home loss for one of its own. Makuakane, 37, evacuated Friday with three trash bags of clothes, two towels, three blankets, a cooler with food, a riding lawn mower, her kids’ bikes, a grill and important documents, the GoFundMe page says. She and her family lived in the home for nine years, HSTA said.
Makuakane said in a phone interview that she and her children, Alana, 6, and Aaron, 4, are “trying to moveforward and taking it hour by hour and figuring out what our next move will be.”
“I honestly don’t know where to begin or what to say, other than … MAHALO! MAHALO MAHALO!” Makuakane said on GoFundMe. “The outpouring of love and support from people around the world, my dearest family and friends, my colleagues and the amazing people of our community and the state of Hawaii is truly overwhelming.”
Although she has homeowners insurance, the insurance will not cover the loss unless she is able to prove that her home was consumed by fire before the lava, the page said.
“She is faced with finding a place to rent while paying for her mortgage and replacing the necessities to live a normal life,” according to the page.
As of about 6 p.m., more than $17,000 already had been raised toward a $100,000 goal.
“We are asking for donations to help her rebuild. If you know Amber, you know that she has the biggest heart and is always willing to help,” the page said. “She is not one who will ask for help, but we feel that she needs our support in this tragic time.”
Right now the family is staying with a friend in Puna, “but it’s extremely short-term. So I’m in the process of trying to find a long-term rental or place to stay,” Makuakane said, adding she is seeking “something that’s consistent so that me and my kids are not moving every week or month or so.”
Makuakane said she was “born and raised and grew up in Leilani Estates,” adding, “I just moved out to go to college, and I came right back. So I’ve lived there pretty much my entire life.”
Lava in the East Rift Zone of Hawaii island “became a way of life” when she was growing up in the 1980s, she said.
“Knowing (that) the volcano is in your backyard, you become accustomed to it,” she said.
She posted on the GoFundMe page that “this is just another obstacle on my life’s journey that I will see through and overcome.”