Li Zhao Mandelbaum comes from a nation of more than one-point-three-billion people. So the concept of small is relative.
“I often introduce myself, I’m from Nanning, a small city in China, and people will say OK tell me the population, and I will say well, we have about six million population,” she said.
Her hometown is about an hour’s flight west of Hong Kong near China’s border with Vietnam. It’s known for its lush greenery and hilly terrain. But despite its beauty, it wasn’t enough for the adventurous, young Li Zhao.
Her name is Salome Nengean – born in the northwest Iowa town of Sioux Center – raised in Nigeria. She’s 29 now and, with her husband, frequently travels to the place of her youth where her mother still lives. She says during one of these trips in 2011.
“We happened to meet two kids, who were living with an elderly woman, and somehow they just caught our attention," she said. "There was just something cute about them, there were other kids, but they would just separate from the rest of the group and sit together.”
2013 has been a busy year for Iowa Public Radio's news team. Today on River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with reporters and correspondents about some of the most meaningful and challenging stories they covered. It's a "reporter's notebook" edition of the show.
Here is a list of the full features heard on today's show:
We’ve spent the week with people who perform some of the toughest work there is – the professionals and families who care for the sick and dying. We conclude with a road trip to the south side of Des Moines. Correspondent Rob Dillard rides along with a home health nurse as she makes one of her 20 or so weekly patient visits. She delivers a style of health care reminiscent of bygone days when medical personnel often arrived at their patients’ doors to provide services. This kind of direct care is still in demand for those who are unable to venture far from home.
Iowa Public Radio has been bringing attention to the families and professionals who tend to the health needs of Iowans. It can be stressful and emotional work, perhaps never more so than when the person in need of care nears the end of life. Correspondent Rob Dillard takes us to a comfortable, peaceful place set on the edge of woods in Des Moines. It’s a hospice, a home where many people move to spend their final days.
Correspondent Rob Dillard examines the difficult responsibilities that go along with taking care of someone who is sinking into dementia. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s. According to figures supplied by the local Alzheimer’s Association, some 69-thousand Iowans suffer from this debilitating disease. This number will likely swell to 71-thousand by 2020 and 77-thousand by 2025. Dementia most often strikes the elderly. But in this report, Rob tells us it can also hit people in the prime of their life, bringing heartbreak to families with plans for their golden years.
Today, we continue our week-long series “Being a Caregiver in Iowa.” Yesterday we looked at professional caregivers, who face low pay and lack of training. In most cases, however, the responsibilities of direct care-giving fall to families. When it comes to families with an autistic child, this work can last a lifetime. In Part Two of our series, Iowa Public Radio correspondent Rob Dillard takes us to West Des Moines, where we meet the parents of an autistic boy, and their teenage daughter, who keeps an eye on her kid brother.
The first segment in the series 'Being a Caregiver in Iowa" about the pressures of making a living as a direct caregiver.
Iowa Public Radio is returning this week to its “Being in Iowa” series. Over the next five days, correspondent Rob Dillard will be asking the question, what does it mean to be a caregiver in the state? We begin today by talking about those who provide direct care for a living. It’s an occupation dominated by women and it’s one of the fastest growing workforces in the state. It’s also a job that pays very little and that many end up leaving. Rob Dillard reports on why – and how the state may be changing that.
In the final segment of this week's "Being in Iowa," we meet some Christians who go by a couple of names. We know them as Friends or as Quakers. There are also two branches of this religion in Iowa, representing two distinct approaches to worship.
The Hindu Temple south of Madrid is an eye-catching structure with plaster images of animals and deities carved all over the outside surfaces. It’s where 500 families pray to the God they call Brahman, which they say is found in everything.
It’s impossible to put an exact number on how many people in the state describe themselves as atheist or agnostic. Many of them prefer to stay quiet about it. Iowa Public Radio correspondent Rob Dillard asked several Iowans who do not believe in a supernatural power about where they stand in a society that generally thinks religion is a good thing.
Iowa Public Radio is looking at how different groups of Iowans connect with God. Today, we examine the beliefs held within a 500-year old religion established in the Punjab region of northwest India and northeast Pakistan. In Punjabi it’s pronounced Sikhism (SICK-ism). Over the years, it’s been Anglicized to Sikhism (SEEK-ism). The practitioners at a Temple in West Des Moines pronounced it both ways.
With a devout Mormon running for president, pundits have labeled this period “the Mormon moment.” But polls indicate half the American public admits to knowing very little or nothing about the religion. Rob met with some practicing Mormons in Iowa City to understand more about their faith.
All this week, we’ve been hearing what it’s like “Being Southeast Asian in Iowa.” Our reports from IPR’s Rob Dillard have highlighted why so many Southeast Asians – many of them refugees -- settled in Iowa. Today, we’ll explore the culture of people from Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and more --- and the efforts to preserve the culture in Iowa.
Nearly every transplant to Iowa from Southeast Asia who we’ve met this week has been in the state for a number of years. Iowa has a long history of welcoming them. That’s partially why refugees from that corner of the world continue to arrive. The latest are from the country now known as Myanmar. But it’s almost impossible to lump these new arrivals into a single group of refugees.
In part four of our series “Being Southeast Asian in Iowa.” we explore what it takes to integrate into a place where the people speak a different language and practice different customs. Is it possible to maintain the traditions from back home and embrace the American way of doing things?
Thousands of Southeast Asians left behind the familiar culture of their homeland for a fresh start in Iowa. Although they’re now living on the opposite side of the world from their birthplace, these immigrants strive to maintain the traditions of their native countries. Correspondent Rob Dillard explains the lengths to which they go to bring a touch of Southeast Asia to the American Midwest.
A few years after former Governor Robert Ray found a home in Iowa for the Tai Dam refugees of Laos, he did the same thing for another group who was seeking sanctuary. These were the “boat people”, most of them from Vietnam, who risked everything on the high seas to escape communism.
The number of Southeast Asians in Iowa received a boost almost 40 years ago, when about 1,200 refugees who were fleeing the Communist takeover of Laos and Vietnam were allowed to resettle here. Their saga of escape from war and persecution is part of a bigger story about a compassionate governor and a state’s citizens, who opened their hearts to a batch of new residents.
In a weeklong series IPR reporter Rob Dillard connected with Iowans to share how their learning disability impacted their life. Host Ben Kieffer talks with doctors and people featured in the series about learning disabilities and how their lives have changed.
Today, Iowa Public Radio concludes its week-long series “Being Learning Disabled in Iowa.” Over the past four days, correspondent Rob Dillard has been looking into the difficulties people with specific learning disabilities have while moving through the lower grades, into high school and on to college. Now, Rob tells us about the adjustments these people must continue to make throughout their lifetimes in order to function with a disorder that never completely disappears.
Iowa Public Radio is presenting Part Four in its week-long series “Being Learning Disabled in Iowa.” Yesterday we heard about the challenges faced by young students when it first becomes apparent they are having difficulties learning to read and write. Today, reporter Rob Dillard explores the struggles they may encounter in higher education, and the accommodations some colleges are making.
It’s estimated between six and seven percent of Iowa’s K-through-12 students have specific learning disabilities. This minority of kids are often separated from their classmates, and labeled as different. In part three of our series, we look at how this impacts the psyche of these students.
It’s estimated as many as one in five Americans experience some form of specific learning disability. Identifying who these people are, however, is not a precise science.
It took years before Jefferson-Scranton High School senior Mary Larson and her parents figured out why she couldn’t read. She depended on her father to read her grade school textbooks out loud. By fifth grade, she still showed no signs of grasping the meaning of written words.
“I went to Iowa City hospital and they had a professional test me, I had to do some reading tests, comprehension.”
All this week, we’ve been hearing what it’s like “Being Home Schooled in Iowa.” Our reports from IPR’s Rob Dillard have highlighted the reasons why parents choose to home school their children, assistance programs for home school students, and the transition from home schooling to college. Join host Ben Kieffer as we discuss what it means to be home schooled in Iowa.
Iowa Public Radio concludes its week-long series “Being Home Schooled in Iowa” today with a look at the transition from home schooling to college. More students on Iowa’s campuses are entering a traditional classroom for the first time after being taught primarily by their parents. How smoothly do they make that move? What do professors see in students who were home schooled? And how do admission offices evaluate applicants who have never been given a letter grade? Reporter Rob Dillard went looking for answers to these questions.
All this week, Iowa Public Radio has been bringing you a series of stories about home schooled students. We’ve met several parents who have chosen to take charge of their children’s education for a variety of reasons. Occasionally, they seek help, especially as their kids get older. In today’s story, reporter Rob Dillard tells us that many of them turn to publicly supported Home School Assistance Programs.