VOA Burmese Blog

April 16, 2010

Visiting Refugees

Filed under: Uncategorized — voaburmese @ 8:49 pm

My colleague and I went to visit refugees last weekend as we’ve been preparing to do a story video about refugees. I commend her ( my colleague) often because on her spare time she and her husband visit different cities in the US where refugees have been relocated. I call my colleague and her husband, the Asian Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. They even take her mom with them.

We drove for two and a half hours to a town in Virginia where the refugees had formed their own little community within the town. I only spent a day visiting Virginia, but I was shocked on what I had seen. The houses were nearby, and there were so much generosity and love within the refugees’ homes. I couldn’t believe it. They wanted to feed us and boy, did we eat! We had a big lunch there and had a late lunch as well. In one house, we had beef curry, rice, potato soup and this spicy homemade sauce.

After lunch and after our interview, we ate again. We couldn’t resist- the food was too good to pass up. This time we went to a neighbor’s house where all the refugees in the little community had gathered- children included. They had made a lot of soup for us and for their little community. The soup is called “ Yakine Moti” , and it is very spicy but very delicious at the same time.

I wasn’t expecting this much generosity from them, given that they had so little. There were so many babies and toddlers around us, and what surprised my coworker was when one man who had 2 children, said he wanted one more baby. She asked, “ Well, do you have a job?”. He replies, “ No, but I still want one more child.” That was perplexing- how can they still want more children when they are barely making ends meet?

The children were beautiful- most of them looked healthy. There were things that needed to be fixed within the houses, but the town that they lived in seemed quiet and safe. A lot of the refugees want to go back home- to the places that they know of as “ home” – their refugee camps in Thailand or else where, because living in the U.S. with so much freedom, is new to them and incomprehensible. Others seem happy here in the States; they want to make a living for themselves as well as their children and want to gather as many opportunities as they can here.

My coworker, Ma Naw Show, says  that their stories are unusual. Their stories are good ones- they make it to the U.S., and they are living in a safe and happy environment. Not all refugees get to live like this. Many are trafficked and get coerced into prostitution and slavery.

This was one story that I was happy to have reported, and we will keep you updated of our next adventures.


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