‘What The Hell Have I Gotten Myself Into?’

A reporter discovers an unusual homeless camp in Waianae — and learns a lot about herself in the process.

When Jessica Terrell first stumbled across a homeless encampment on the west coast of Oahu, she instinctively knew that she had to come back and get to know the people living there.

Terrell, who is Civil Beat’s education reporter, had some personal reasons for wanting to tell the story of Hawaii’s largest and most unusual homeless community.

Growing up in a family of traveling musicians, Terrell was often homeless herself, and she wanted to help change people’s perceptions of the homeless. But what she quickly discovered at The Harbor was that she had some pretty big misconceptions of her own.

Hit the play button to hear the discussion or subscribe to the Civil Beat Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.

Read more about this unusual community in our special report, “The Harbor.

This podcast contains audio clips from the following songs, films and newscasts:
Ingrid Lucia “Midnight Rendezvous” / “Honey Child” / “I’m watching you”
Almost Famous
Random Lunacy
Robbero / CC BY 3.0
PitxCC BY 2.5
Doxent Zsigmond CC BY 3.0
“The Ballad of Gilligan’s Isle”
Hawaii News Now, KITV, CNN

This podcast was written by Jessica Terrell and produced by Chrystele Bossu-Ragis.

Jessica Terrell spent hundreds of hours in The Harbor to report on the homeless life.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Want to hear more? Check out Civil Beat's other podcasts.

On Campus

We go behind the scenes as teachers and parents launch a brand new charter school in Hawaii.


Offshore is a new immersive storytelling podcast about a Hawaii most tourists never see.

iTunes | Stitcher
The Pod Squad

Host Chad Blair dives into the biggest stories of the week and what they mean for the people of Hawaii.

iTunes | Stitcher

About the Authors

Subscribe on iTunes To listen to previous Podcasts please go to the list of Podcasts in iTunes and right click Civil Beat, then select Download All.

Support Nonprofit Journalism in Hawaii

Support Us