Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

Season 5 Episode 1

Akana Family

Aired Friday 8:00 PM Sep 30, 2007 on ABC

Episode Recap

The Akana family: Ben, Momi and their children Keahi, Kuulei, Maka and Poli.

Honolulu, Hawaii is the farthest to date that the team has traveled to help out a deserving family.



Momi was the first in her family to go on welfare.

Momi created Keiki o ka'Aina, a non-profit group that helps out poor families in Hawaii. She ran this group out of her own house for many years. Through it she was able to help 9000 families!

The Akanas live next to a river. A major flood washed away more than half of the home's foundation. The rest of the home could be washed away at any point in time, especially during the rain season.

Ben and Momi have a baby girl, Poli, born with Down Syndrome.


The Akana family will go on vacation to Whistler, B.C. in Canada where the kids will see snow for the first time in their lives!

The team commits to build both a home and a community center – their biggest project to date!

Hawaii is one of the most expensive places to live in the world.

Momi's helped so many people while struggling herself to provide for a family and live.

The Akanas' house is actually hanging over the river! It's the only house that's got a variance to build there because the people who built it ran away during the last big hurricane without finishing it.



Eduardo Xol learns that 14yr-old Keahi loves music

12yr-old Kuulei loves animals and wants to be a vet so designer Paige Hemmis helps her out.

Paul DiMeo learns that 8yr-old Maka loves volcanoes.

Ed Sanders will build a nursery for Ben and daughter Poli.


During the rainy season, when it can rain for 8-10days straight, the little river can get so big it can wash the Anakas' house away. The team can't build in that location so the family has to move.

The community center is 3 acres large – this is a lot of space in Hawaii!

One of the buildings of the community center land used to be a walk-in freezer. The buildings are a disaster but the view is incredible!

What drives Momi is that 11yrs ago her kids went to a wonderful free program that was unfortunately shut down. Momi thought she could keep it going so two months later it re-opened with 30 families and started from there. She even used to pay for the snacks with her own food stamps.



Brookfield Homes Hawaii is the builder this week headed by Jeff Proster.

Resources are limited because they're 6hrs from the mainland.

They're building over 7000 square feet at the same time!

On Day 5 Jeff asks for more help to keep the project on time. By this time some of these guys have been working for 3-4 days without sleep! Some guys had been up for 60hrs. framing!

There is concern that the team might not make their 7day-deadline!

Paul DiMeo makes an appeal through the local news media for reinforcements; framers, tillers, finish carpenters, cleaners, etc…

There is concern that the team might have taken on too much in trying to build both a house and a community center in the time that they have, with the labour and location that they have. It might just be impossible.

Because of the appeal more people come out to help. Even the Navy SeaBee, who do construction, show up to help and support the community.

And supporting the community is what Momi believes in – folks coming together to help one of their own.

Even the mayor came out to help!

Around 3000 people participated in the build.

An aspect of this week's project is particularly challenging to Ed because he nearly cut off his hand the last time he tried to build something. He's nervous because he has to use the same tool again. Previously he was working near the end of a wooden flag for the Thomas family and ended up taking the safety guard off a tool. This time he keeps the guard on and works carefully.

Ty takes a trip to a women's prison to pick up a special gift for Momi made by a woman named Jackie and her son.

Ty plans a concert break for all the workers and volunteers.

Family volunteers paint wooden flowers as part of a lay that will go up the community center's staircase.

Jeff plans a Hawaiin-style party once the build is done.



The family is moved to tears upon seeing the new house and community center

Maka's bed is a volcano.

Keahi's room is laced with musical instruments.

Kuulei's room is filled with animal pictures and stuffed toys

Poli's room has a baby monitor hooked up to the living room TV and has Ed's handmade rocking chair sitting next to the crib.

The family is so grateful for the gifts of love they received.