Lady Ipo & Michael

Hopes Fulfilled for Habitat Homeowners

For Lady Ipo, Wednesday April 14th, 2010 represented a great accomplishment and a blessing as she and her husband Michael paid off their Habitat home in full.  We sat down with Lady Ipo and Michael to hear about how Kaua`i Habitat for Humanity came into their lives, and how faith and family brought them to their achievement of homeownership.

 Lady Ipo grew up in Anahola where her family has been for many generations, passing along the traditions of Hawaiian living including pole fishing, hula, and music.  She first learned about Kaua`i Habitat through the efforts of LaFrance Kapaka-Arboleda, our first Executive Director, who built dozens of homes and a Habitat community in Anahola after Hurricane `Iniki.  In 1996, Lady Ipo built her Habitat house with the help of her whole family and neighbors, pooling together resources to build a new future.  In her family there is a cook, a masseuse, and numerous musicians, and so it is no surprise that Lady Ipo has found her calling on stage as a noted entertainer, performing original songs and hula around the world.  Ipo is also an ordained Minister, performing blessings and ceremonies around the island and also as an Associate Pastor at Ke Akua Mana church in Kapa`a.

When Lady Ipo shared the story of how she married Michael and turned her life around, she highlighted the transformative power of God’s influence.   After the loss of her mother, grandmother, and sister within a short period of time, Ipo felt unable to cope with these losses that came on top of her everyday obligations, like her mortgage payments.  By “offering up her life to God”, Lady Ipo said that “He brought me a husband, and changed my outlook on life.”  Michael proposed to Ipo on the day of her first sermon as an ordained Minister, and they got married that day in the same church.  Through Michael’s support and her steadfast faith, Lady Ipo has finally been able to pay off her mortgage and live secure in the knowledge that her home is entirely her own.

With the house paid off, Ipo and Michael are now free to make plans for a family visit to Las Vegas and to work on improvements to their home.  However, it might be tough to tear Michael away from his work.  “We’re both workaholics,” said Lady Ipo, laughing as she added, “Our life schedules work well together.”  With a paid mortgage in hand and a smile on her face, we asked Ipo if she had any advice for other Habitat homeowners.  “Things will go up and down, but there is always hope… you need money, yes, but you also need the spirit of the family and ke Akua.”