This essay discusses the life of Hmong people in the United States. The life of the Hmong is very different from their life in their native land. Their arrival into the country was as refugees fleeing away from the repressive communist, however when they arrived here it was as if coming to another planet.
The life of the Hmong is very different from their life in their native land. Their arrival into the country was as refugees fleeing away from the repressive communist, however when they arrived here it was as if coming to another planet, everything was totally different from their original lifestyle and traditions, they had to learn a new language, adopt strange customs, go to doctors instead of consulting shamans. However, after living for so many years in this environment, they have accepted their fate and realize that they are not going back to their homeland but will have to adapt themselves to the present surroundings.
The culturaldisparity is obvious in all features of their lives, not slightestwith respect to healthcare. Healthcare providers have foundthe Hmong difficult because of communication problem,their need of acquiescence in taking medications and keeping follow-up schedule,and their tradition of being visited in hospital by various crying,chanting relatives.What the author means by the stress on the healthcare providers is not only the problem of acceptance and communications but in the case of Hmong people as can be seen from Lia’s example the ill totally give themselves up to the healers or shaman nurses as in this case, they become their responsibility and thus it is not just a job but somehow they become a liability on the healthcare provider. The Hmong people are as apprehensive of western medicine as the west is ignorant of the Hmong:
Some of the questions they asked her were: Is it forbidden to use a txiv neeb [a shamanistic traditional healer] to heal an illness in the United States? Why do American doctors try to open up your head and take out your brains? Do American doctors eat the livers, kidneys, and brains of Hmong patients? When Hmong people die in the United States, is it true that they are cut into pieces and put in tin cans and sold as food? (Fadiman, 1997)
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