Leaving the Islands
January 18, 2005 2:12 PM   Subscribe

Springdale Arkansas is now home to the largest population of Marshallese outside of the Marshall islands. ...They all spoke so highly of Springdale and how great it is to work the overnight shift in a chicken factory in the Ozarks. What a strange irony that everyone I knew in Arkansas considered paradise to be on South Pacific islands, with no schedule and great fishing. ..Articles by Christopher Leonard and photos by Benjamin Krain
posted by thisisdrew (7 comments total)
Nice links. Totally unrelated to them, though...

While watching the footage of the tsunami, I couldn't help but think of my time on Majuro and Namdrik. I recalled being able to see the ocean on both sides of the land and thinking "wow, if a tsunami hit here, it would literally wipe the whole island away.

The Marshall Islands were a very friendly place, but not beautiful in the same way many you might picture tropical islands. Not Majuro, anyway.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:02 PM on January 18, 2005

I have heard this from other people but I have never met anyone from the Marshall Islands personally (I live in Fayettenam). I keep wondering why there are no restaraunts, grocery stores, etc. Or maybe there are and I just don't know about them.

I am thinking about becoming a High School teacher, very likely in Springdale. If that happens, I guess I will be teaching some of these kids.
posted by Yellowbeard at 3:06 PM on January 18, 2005

I am a reformed Arkansan, and I went to Uni in Fayetteville (what up, Yellowbeard?); Springdale is just next door.

I can imagine a lot of these folks are working for Tyson (chicken). Springdale is the national headquarters. As a side note, a story I always heard in college but never knew if it's true:

There is also a large Chinese population in Springdale. The reason being that in the poultry industry, when a chick is hatched, it's important to know if that chick is male or female. You can do a blood test, of course, but that's timely and expensive. The Chinese, however, have over the centuries perfected a technique to tell the sex of a chick simply by sight. Hence, Tyson hires lots of Chinese to work in the plants. Anyone know anything about this? Yellowbeard?
posted by zardoz at 3:17 PM on January 18, 2005

I met lots of Marshallese, but I met then in Chuuk and not in Arkansas. The Marshall islands are best known for being home to the namesake for the Bikini, Bikini Atoll.
posted by mullingitover at 9:47 PM on January 18, 2005

posted by mullingitover at 9:48 PM on January 18, 2005

Yes...I've always dreamed of heading out to the Tyson factory and setting up my beach chair, listening to the sweet sounds of chickens being dismembered and watching the sun set. If only my wife and I can save up for our big vacation in paradise someday.

Seriously though, I'm sure it is paradise for these guys. I don't know much about Arkansas, but (beyond deliverance...or was that Kentucky, sorry AR folks;-]) it smacks of general verdancy and a temperate climate, there are mountains and Rivers. The disparate quality of the landscape alone, not to mention the economy and culture, would make either population pine for the other's domestic pleasures.
posted by prettyboyfloyd at 6:04 AM on January 19, 2005

zardoz -

I don't know about your specific case, but I do remember a discussion in a philosophy class about chicken sexing and how it couldn't be taught empirically but only learned by experience. I never really bought that argument, but the rhetoric does seem to be that chicken sexing is done entirely by some sort of subliminal visual cues to the sexer.
posted by Yellowbeard at 6:37 AM on January 19, 2005

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