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Mrs. Josefina Cortezan tells a story.
"In 1920, the HSPA (Hawaii Sugar Planters Association) tried to get Filipina nurses to come over to Hawaii because when the Filipino workers got sick, they were afraid and refused to go to the plantation clinics. Sometimes they didn't understand them, or if they did go they threw away the medicine. Field workers would say they would find bottles of medicine discarded in the cane fields. The Filipino men believed that when you went to the hospital you would never return home again. A few would go to the hospital when they were almost about to die. In fact, there were many cases of Filipino men found days later, dead at home. That is one of the reasons why I chose to come. Besides, I only meant to stop over and move on to the U.S. mainland."
"My friends in the Philippines say, why go to Hawaii, they might cowboy (kidnap) you. You know the cowboy system? There were very few Filipino women here then and there was a group of men who would cowboy women even if they did not want to leave their husbands. I said no, at least they have respect for nurses. I donít think they will cowboy us. Later on we met the man who was the leader of the cowboy gang. He spoke several dialects so he could fool a lot people. One thing was that the Filipinos never stole money. They stole wives. And they were quick with their knives so they called them "poke-knife."
"When I and two other nurses arrived we had a big reception. We said we came here because we loved our countrymen and wanted to help. It was a mistake to say we love our countrymen because we got flooded with love letters. I am so sorry now, because we burned them. It is nice to remember those times."