Micronesian migrants struggle to access health care in Oklahoma and Arkansas.
BY KRISTA LANGLOIS | THE NEW TERRITORY ISSUE 04
Lenwa Joab has a soft, creased face and hands that rest motionless in her lap. She is 65 but looks older. Her husband, Ernest, is 66 but looks younger, his hair still thick and black except just at the temples, where it fades to gray. He sweeps a leaf blower across the yard of a tidy brick home on the east side of Enid, Oklahoma, while Lenwa sits in a wheelchair in the driveway, watching silently. One of their grandsons — Frederick, Tony or Peculiar, it’s hard to tell which — darts around the wheelchair and the Ford F-150 next to it, playing a game only he knows.
Lenwa doesn’t speak much. She had a stroke a few years ago, and has high blood pressure, diabetes and poor vision. She isn’t receiving any medical care.
Soon, snow will shiver through the bare branches [of the trees in the yard]. Her family worries that the coming winter will be hard on her, as it is on most elders who grew up without winter, who came to the United States to get better but are dying instead. Few imagined they’d die here, in a foreign land with Ford trucks in driveways and leaf blowers in yards.
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