Kauai’s Most Influential Donor Discusses Journey with Ed Mylett
Hanalei Savala has been living in Hawaii for only a handful of years but has been able to contribute to the most needed community by contributing monetary gifts and donating her spare time to local schools, food pantries, and organizations that support affordable housing.
Ed Mylett was in town vacationing in Kauai when he saw an article in the local newspaper about a businesswoman being one of the biggest influential donors to Kauai’s economic stability. Since Ed loves interviewing people who are champions in all areas of life, he couldn’t resist setting up an interview with Hanalei and finding out more about her and how she gives back.
We were able to schedule an interview with Hanalei on a Sunday which was the only day she said she doesn’t do any work. It was her day for God and family, but coming over for lunch after church was the best time for her. She said to come with an empty stomach and that is definitely what we had planned to do.
We drove up to Hanalei’s house after driving a mile in from the main road. It was a pretty secluded location on a little hill with majestic mountains in the background. We pulled up to a gray and white, two-story house with a wrap-around porch on the bottom and top floor. There was a beautiful array of flowers in so many different colors that lined the front of the house. It looked like she owned every color of the rainbow with those flowers starting from the pink plumerias, to red-orange hibiscus, yellow peony, and even red roses. I could see lemons, an avocado tree, and nectarines to the left of the house with a bunch of other fruits and vegetables growing. You can smell the aroma of each of the flowers as we got out of the car. You can hear chickens eating and cows mooing from a distance. Of course, there was that good ol’ King of the Road rooster just walking around our car like it owned the place. The house was lifted off the ground by 2 feet and four steps led to her double French entry doors. There was a sign on the outside window that read, “Please take off your slippahs”. Outside of her front door, you can smell something good being cooked in the kitchen.
Ed rang the doorbell, but someone had opened the door at the same time he pressed the button. A woman with long brown hair and a dark pink hibiscus flower in her ear greeted us. She wore a red and white Hawaiian dress with red plumeria flowers all over it and thin fuzzy grey house slippers that showed her pink-colored toenails. “Aloha! I’m Hanalei. Welcome to my home”, she said excitedly. She hugged and kissed us on the cheek inviting us into her home. Ed took off his white sneakers which went with his navy-colored shorts and plain white shirt which read #Max Out your life in the promotion of one of his books. Hanalei pointed to the left where she had cubbies with different-sized house slippers. She told us to pick whatever slippers we wanted to wear and the sizes were all labeled on the bottom.
The inside of her home was very modern but colorful with pictures and paintings. She had gray and white tiled floors all over the house except the kitchen had dark gray colored tiles. There was an abundant amount of space in the house which didn’t look like it had from the outside. Her Living room had dark gray couches, a white grand piano, and a glass window wall that showed those majestic mountains we saw when we pulled up to the house. Hanalei led us to the kitchen where she said her husband was just about done with our lunch. Her kitchen was just as big as the huge living room. There was a long island with light grey and white marble countertops. There were 10 white stools with a back and armrest that lined the large island in the middle of the kitchen. You can see a waterfall in a distance from the kitchen window.
Hanalei’s husband had a spread of what looked like a taco bar and gorditas.
“Now this is what I’m talking about, Mexican food in Hawaii,” said Ed with a huge smile.
“Well, we can’t get any real good Mexican food out here so my Husband had to show you a little taste of Santa Cruz,” said Hanalei. She points at a 6-foot 5-inch man wearing a black rooster tank top and pineapple shorts with a black apron over them. “This is our Master Chef, loving husband, wonderful father, aka my lifelong partner- Jorge”. “Aloha! We are having your choice of a taco, burrito, or gordita and you can fill it with whatever options you like. We have three different types of salsa- red (spicy), green (mild), or plain pico de gallo. Your choice of meat is seasoned chicken, slow-cooked shredded beef, or kalua pork. At the end of the counter are your toppings which include sour cream, chopped onions, cilantro, cheddar cheese, and lemon. Please go ahead and serve yourself!”
“Oh, wow! This is definitely a feast! We came as instructed with empty stomachs.” – Ed
“Ha ha! Perfect! What do you guys want to drink? We have any drink you can think of and our special drink of the day is our Mai Tai’s!” – Hanalei
“Well let’s go ahead and try the special of the day”, said Ed.
After we all got a plate of food, Hanalei led us to her backyard patio which is where the swimming pool was located. It was very peaceful and relaxing back there, possibly because of the sound of the water stream from the koi pond she had next to the patio tables. The food was so good that we had many moments of silence so we could stuff our faces while trying to savor each bite.