People of the Pacific – Isaac, Marshall Islands

People of the Pacific

Isaac, Marshall Islands

” I was the one she was close with when she was little”, says Isaac, “It is strange it could end like this”.

I meet Isaac in the bar named “Flame Tree” adjacent to my hotel. Isaac is a calm good-natured guy aged 59.

Isaac has three children. A daughter aged 29 living in Texas. A son aged 25 also living in the US. And a daughter aged 25, living and studying in Fiji sponsored by a US aid program.

As a compensation for the Nuclear Testing carried out on the Marshall Islands in the 1940s and 1950s America has set up aid programs securing inhabitants of the Marshall Islands easy immigration to the US.

A modest compensation one could argue for bombs that massively contaminated several islands radioactively, expelled islanders for up to 50 years and made many seriously ill (some islands have been made uninhabitable for 300 years but those islands where not inhabited at the time of the nuclear testing).

It is immigration aid programs like these Isaacs children have used. The two oldest both went to America and joined the army. Isaacs daughter was then sent to Iraq.” But when she came back her head was not right”, Isaac tells me.

Isaacs daughter called the ambulance herself. Her daughter had stopped breathing. When the ambulance came Isaacs granddaughter was almost dead. Isaacs daughter had beaten her up. When she finally stopped it was almost too late.

Isaac is not completely sure but he thinks his daughter will be staying 16 years in jail.

During day she may exit the prison. But every night she has to come back.

Never again can she see her daughter.

Isaac and his wife flew to America. “The lawyers start at a 100 dollars an hour” Isaac says “so it was pretty important to try to settle things ourselves with the in laws.” But he did not like them. And he did not trust them.

In the end they settled. Isaac could bring his granddaughter to the Marshall Islands. A granddaughter who was not the son in laws biological daughter, but was a result of one of the daughter’s prior relationships. The son in law got full custody over the couple’s biological son and was excused of paying alimony to Isaacs granddaughter.

But Isaacs granddaughter was too sick to fly. Her brain had been damaged. “We didn’t even know if she was going to live” says Isaac in a strangely calm and unaffected voice.

The next time Isaac and his wife came to America their granddaughter was fortunately feeling a lot better.

Today she is 8 years old. She goes to school in Majuro, the capital of Marshall Islands. She has recovered and lives a close to normal life.

“I am just an old man” says Isaac. “My wife and I just wanted to live a quiet life. And then suddenly we had another child in our home. But I couldn’t let her grow up with a man I did not trust. And who wasn’t even her real father. This is the best solution for everyone.”

“And what is most important. She is doing well. We will all be alright”

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