I WILL SURVIVED! Zoltan’s Journey

Zoltan’s Prison Escape

Do you remember In Touch with Kalani Ed. 6, where we broke a story about our volunteers being imprisoned in Hale 2 upstairs? We were not able to give you answers at that time. We were only speculating who might have been imprisoned there. Now we know. This is not a joke. This story is real. It was a peaceful day when suddenly a screaming volunteer came to our office. “Zoltan fell from the ceiling!” OMG Where? How? Why? We haven’t seen Zoltan recently. We thought he left already and he is living happily in Hungary. We ran to Hale 2 and found Zoltan laying on the kitchen floor. “I escaped” he whispered and lost consciousness. This was serious. We called our agents from all over the world for backup, interviewed all our volunteers and spent hours trying to heal Zoltan so he could tell us the truth. And he did tell us a shocking truth. As we all know Zoltan loves to work and he loves to cook. It all started one evening when he decided to prepare Hungarian meal for our Ohana and then another one and another, and he just couldn’t stop.

zoltan-fallWe love Hungarian food but not everyday” – Dana told us. He just didn’t want to leave the kitchen, he wanted to cook more and more. We didn’t know what to do. At some point we had no choice. We had to imprison him. He was supposed to stay there for only few days…”

Zoltan was locked in Kalani’s prison at Hale 2, but the love of working and cooking was stronger. He couldn’t just sit there while the kitchen desperately needed help. Work is deeply embodied in Hungarian culture. He confessed he just had to work. It was his addiction. When they handcuffed him he was making a soup and still had a spoon in his hand. As soon as they locked him in one of the rooms upstairs he started digging a hole through his cell floor in Shawshank Redemption-style. He knew the kitchen was short staffed and needed some angels. He wanted to be the kitchen angel. He dug a hole and flew down. Unfortunately he forgot he doesn’t have wings and he ended up on the floor rescued by our kitchen crew. He survived and he is now under the US Witness Protection Program in Kalani Prison’s case.

Pele’s Lessons

People often come to kalani with certain expectations, which is a very bad idea. Pele has her own ideas about what you should be doing here, and if you are not doing what she wants you to be doing, she will knock you around until you get it right. For many people, this lesson is to slow down and enjoy life. Don’t always be in a hurry. Relax. Stay calm. Breathe deeply and enjoy life. If you need an example of Pele knocking this lesson into somebody, just look at Zoltan.

Zoltan always had to be doing something here. He couldn’t let go of his ways from his Hungarian homeland, and he kept being busy all the time. Pele told him to not do that,but Zoltan refused to listen, so Pele made him to by forcing him into an accident. And when still, Zoltan refused to listen, Pele kept going. She kept throwing more and more accidents at him until she got through to him. It wasn’t just one or two accidents. No, there is a whole list of them:

  1. zoltan-doorOne fateful night, Zoltan was invited to a party at the Peace House. So excited was Zoltan to get there, that he ran through the dark, throwing caution to the wind as the very flip flop he was wearing became torn and ripped apart beneath the weight of his enthusiasm. When finally he reached the Peace House door, he could no longer maintain balance and went crashing into the Peace House door as he stumbled and fell, almost destroying the door completely. He was though, the first one there. Pele’s lesson? Slow down, Zoltan. Slow down.


  1. On a staff trip to Shipman’s Beach, Zoltan almost drown. He had swam out, believing the water to be shallow enough to splash and play in, but suddenly realizing the shocking and horrific truth- the tide had changed and the water had become too deep for him, and the current too strong to swim against. Fortunately, Ryan was there and knew how to save him, and Zoltan is alive today. Pele’s lesson? Don’t get in over your head, Zoltan.
  2. zoltan-debrisOne night in the dark, after showering in the outdoor shower near the A-Frames, Zoltan veered from the path. So lost was he in the dark, that he didn’t know that he was headed towards a pile of palm fronds and other debris from the Landscaping crew. Unable to keep his balance, he tumbled into it, dirtying himself all over again, so that he had to take another shower. Pele’s lesson? Stay on your path, Zoltan.


  1. One day Zoltan fell through the floor of Hale 2 into the kitchen below, very nearly killing himself, and the two new volunteers below him that were in the middle of their kitchen orientation as he narrowly missed landing on them. Zoltan reports that as the floor was giving way beneath him, he could hear the cracking of the wood, just as he has heard the cracking of ice on a pond before it breaks. With no time to jump out of harm’s way, there was nothing to do but brace for the fall, and just let it happen. So that is what he did. He fell to the floor below, startling the volunteers below him. He is reported to have said, as he landed, “Hi guys,” and then waited for help to arrive. Pele’s lesson? Don’t tread on thin ice, Zoltan.


After talking to Zoltan, we know that the lessons that Pele had for him have finally sunk in. Zoltan met each lesson and became stronger because of them. Way to go, Zoltan! You are a survivor! A true inspiration!



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