Hershel Hood knows life after lava will never be the same. 

At 62-years-old Hood has no other choice but to rebuild.

"Now, I'm deep in debt and I'll never buy nice things again. I don't care about nice things, ever again," Hood said.

The dream home he built by hand on Launoni Street in Lanipuna Gardens is buried in lava.

"It was covered by Fissure 22, that's the one that did us in."> It virtually covered all of Lanipuna Gardens with a 60 foot thick layer of lava," Hood said. 

Aside from their truck, two bags of clothes and a bag of documents, Hood and his wife lost everything. 

Their beloved cat went missing and the tools Hood needed for work as an electrician were consumed by lava.

"I'm a big believer in God. That's how I made it. Or Bruddah whatever you like," Hood said.

After the eruptions Hood says he put his life on hold waiting for the County to follow through on promises of a land swap.

"We would go to these meetings Tuesday night at the high school where the county would say, 'we're gonna rebuild Puna, we're gonna build land and even exchange your lava covered land," Hood said.

When that never happened Hood took the $35,000 in emergency funding he got from the Federal government and bought two acres Orchidland. His new property is surrounded by Ohia trees and about 13 miles away from his old house.

"It's a metal house. That's Dana, he's helping me a lot," Hood said.

With the help of friends, Hood is building this unique home. The materials were cheap and it's all he could afford. 

He picked green to match the trees and to signify a fresh start.

Even though it's small and unusual, it's a roof over his head and that's all that matters.

Over the past year and while he's been building this house, Hershel says one of the things he's learned is that he no longer needs material things to be happy. Everything you see here will be off the grid.

"I need nothing. That's what Bruddah said. You don't need anything to be alive and be a happy person," Hood said. "We're gonna have solar power, water catchment, propane gas. I am not hooking up to the grid."

Hood describes the past year as baffling and says the most difficult part is staying positive.

"If it wasn't for the love of  my wife, I probably would have drank myself to death or something, months and months and months ago," Hood said.

However, in between the loss, sadness, and anxiety there have been a few miracles and signs of hope. 

Hood's old neighbor found his cat right before Christmas.

"Went up Pohoiki Road, hiked across the lava. It took me three and a half hours to get there. I stuffed it into a little box. So the next day I hiked out three and a half hours across the lava, my wife met me with the car, it was her cat, and it's changed our lives completely," Hood said.

Hood knows healing will be a long journey, but it is bittersweet.

"I feel the county owes something to us. They let me build my house on their road. If you didn't think it was safe, why did you let me do it? Take care of of your county landowners. They need to talk to us on an individual basis, because everyone's story is so unique," Hood said.

Their reality of building a new life is the same.