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06-May-2019 09:35

He carried his briefcase, in which he keeps copies of his family’s official documents.

It was Saturday, and he was helping several young Marshallese men fill out applications for work permits.

Our esteemed panel of judges chose to assign this story.ately, Terry Mote has been going to a lot of funerals.

There were at least five in the early spring, sometimes on consecutive weekends.

The largest, the “Castle Bravo” test, blew a crater 6,510 feet wide in the lagoon of Bikini Atoll and ignited a fireball visible from 250 miles away. And it’s accelerated by climate change, which has started to drown the low-lying archipelago. was just a matter of saving money for the plane ticket; the door was open. Granted residency but not citizenship, the Marshallese have virtually no political influence and rank as the single poorest ethnic group in the U. In 1996, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (or welfare reform) eliminated federal health care funding for Marshallese by excluding them from the group of “qualified aliens” who are eligible for benefits.

Enid was once home to the now-closed Phillips University, a religious school responsible for drawing the first Marshallese to the town in the 1970s.

To newcomers from the humid islands, however, landlocked Enid is plenty strange, starting with the weather.

There was no electricity, and when it rained, water came through chinks in the walls. He walked to school, several miles one way down the skinny island’s single road. When there was no food at home he climbed coconut trees. Years later, he would represent the Marshall Islands at the Micronesian Olympic Games, and ran on the 4×400 relay team that still holds his country’s record. military control of their territory, COFA allows citizens of the Marshall Islands (and of the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau; collectively they are known as the Freely Associated States) to move to the U. In Enid, there’s work in meat processing plants and at big box stores. S., Mote worked as a curator at a museum, traveling to outer islands to collect folktales.

Mote is 41 now, with a round face and a demeanor that shifts between earnestness and jest. is based on a treaty called the Compact of Free Association (COFA). His first job in Enid was at the circulation desk of the public library.Fresh seafood is hard to find in the dry, windy city where he lives now – Enid, Oklahoma, a hunkered-down prairie town at the eastern edge of the Great Plains.



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