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He is one of nearly 3,000 Marshallese living in Enid, a town of 51,000 built on oil and wheat. That’s where I first met him, on a warm March afternoon.He wore beige slacks, a red and white checked shirt, and wire-rimmed glasses.

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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.For some 2,000 years, his ancestors found their way in the 750,000 square miles of south Pacific Ocean punctuated by the narrow coral islets that make up the Marshall Islands.They navigated by the stars, charts made of sticks, and a mysterious technique for reading patterns in the water, known as wave piloting.