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October 22, 2015

Re: Your article on Marshall Islands

Julie (Hartzler) Zahs

I was in the Peace Corps serving on Utrik Atoll in the Marshall Islands from l972-3.  The island was visited by the AEA each year.  They would check the people’s health.  I had a friend in the Peace Corps serving on Ronalap during this same time.  I was only on Utrik one year, then transferred to Woja, Alinglaplap Atoll and there from 1973-4. 

I got to know Dr. Conard from the AEA at Brookhaven and Dr. Knutson, who lived on Kwajalien and came out to Utrik sometimes.  I met the doctors from Japan and England (I think) who came to Utrik to check the people. I believe the Marshallese govt. requested an international team to come.

Needless to say, I was eating all the local foods on Utrik, as was my friend on Rongelap. (eating their local foods)  … Breadfruit, papaya, coconuts, coconut crabs, fish, clams, bananas, limes….

I did have a “growth” on my thyroid.  When the doctors learned I had been on Utrik, they decided to do the surgery the next week… and not wait a 1/2 year to see if things changed. The growth turned out to be a cyst… no problem.  (this was in 2000)

I truly enjoyed my time serving with the Peace Corps in the Marshalls.  I was teaching English, math, some science, and even Marshallese to 1st graders. I have gotten to know some Marshallese now living in Dubuque, Iowa. 

Your article was very informative.

Julie (Hartzler) Zahs

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