apartment where Rose lives is quite spacious, considering its prime
Waikiki location amid a jungle of pricey high-rise hotels and expensive
condominiums. The apartment has a kitchen and three adjoining rooms.
Several teenagers lie on the floor with pillows, quietly watching college
volleyball on television, while a small group of elderly people congregates
in the corner, slicing breadfruit and cleaning several fish. Despite
the fact that there are nearly fifteen people in the room, there is
no sound but the television on low volume and the hushed, gentle voices
of the elders.
the kitchen table sits an elaborate arrangement of aluminum trays loaded
with homemade baked goods, meats, and salads, which Rose proudly announces
will be served at her nephews wedding party the next day. We both
sit down on the sofa and marvel over the coincidence of meeting each
other here in Honolulu. Yet strangely, although we are physically in
the epicenter of Hawai'is tourist industry, it almost seems as
if we have been transported back to Kosrae. "Yeah, just like Kosrae
Rose sighs wistfully as she looks around the room.
older woman, Roses aunt, sits in a wheelchair. She looks up from
her sewing, nods to us, and raises her eyebrows, "Eke wogood
evening!" Rose explains that like many Micronesians who are eligible
for medical treatment under the Compact of Free Association, her aunt
has come from Kosrae for diabetes treatment at Tripler Army Medical
Hospital. She has flown to Hawai'i with her two nieces, who accompany
her twice a week as she rides The Bus to her appointments.