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Mote works for the county health department as a translator and adviser.
He also acts as an emissary between the Marshallese in Enid – many of whom don’t speak English – and the rest of the city.
They navigated by the stars, charts made of sticks, and a mysterious technique for reading patterns in the water, known as wave piloting.
He’d driven a hundred miles the previous day, to Oklahoma City, to buy bitter melon and small fish that he placed delicately into the frying pan with a pair of tongs.
They were among the things he missed from the Marshall Islands, where he grew up.
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.