Hale Kula is the Hawaiian term for schoolhouse. When I saw the first elementary school, I did not recognize the building as a school. I thought it was either a motel, a juvenile prison or a movie setting. I was fascinated by the contrariness of these deserted places that are so lively during the day: the clash between individuality and conformity, the horizontals and formal reduction to bands of color behind grass, accentuated by the darkness of night. After I was told that it was a school, I was surprised, I never saw a school illuminated at night. When I heard why these schools are lit up, I was even more surprised: to prevent vandalism. It seemed an unexpected problem for the paradise that Hawaii is supposed to be. During my four-month stay, I found out more about the current social situation in Hawaii, problems between native Hawaiians and Americans, drugs and crime, due to large gaps between rich and poor. These problems don't get much attention outside of the islands; Hawaii maintains its reputation as a paradise. I felt that these buildings were angling for my attention in a very subtle way so I would find out their story.
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