In Chapter 15, we fast forward roughly two years since Lia left MCMC when they assumed, she only had a short time to live. Against the doctor’s expectations, Lia became stable when she returned home from the hospital. Doctor Neil confronts and apologizes to Nao Kao and Foua when they bring Lia in for her first checkup. The Lees respond to his apology very differently, where Foua thanks him and hugs him and Nao Kao was distant and cold. However, it seems the Lees still blame the hospital for Lia’s current condition where she us unable to move and speak. The author Anne reappears in this chapter as well, where she visits Lia time to time, along with a nurse from the county health department. In Chapter 16, we learn more about the Hmong way of life in present day. Author Anne does some investigation in the Hmong community in Merced, which formed from a following of Dang Moua who moved cross country after buying land in Merced. Over time, the Lao Family Community is formed to try to improve conditions and quality of life of the Hmong people lead by Jonas Vangay.
Chapter 16 specifically resembles the Video we watched in our past class about Richmond, CA. The Hmong refugees are concentrated in the “wrong side of the tracks” that used to be a “Chinatown”. The economy in Merced worsened with the influx of refugees and the Hmong were blamed, just as in Richmond, CA the population is overwhelmingly made up of minorities, refugees, and immigrants from all over. I also found this chapter interesting as the western and Hmong culture overlap. They way western society is structured, refuges (like all minorities) are at a disadvantage due to unequal opportunities. This causes people like the Hmong to congregate and come together and surround themselves with the people that are alike and can sympathize with their current situation. At the same time, the Hmong culture is very family and community centric which is another reason for their inclination to stick together. This is one of the only times that the two cultures align even if it is for different reasons.