My Week

During the week days, I go to school, then I go home and do my homework.  I spend about 90% of my time in school during the week days, both inside and outside the classroom. On the weekend, I went grocery shopping with my family. The only time I am able to spend time with my family is during the weekends. This weekend, we prepared a special celebration in the Temple and celebrated with everyone.

-Paw Say

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Lincoln High

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Grocery shopping with family

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Preparation for celebrationimage_1

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Paw Say

Tah Ka Pal

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My name is Paw Say. I was born in Burma and my family came to the United States in 2008. Before we came to the US, we lived in Thailand. I go to Lincoln High School and I am now a junior. My goal for this project is to gain more knowledge and skills in writing and using computer. I want to show others about our Karen community in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Back in Burma, I used to live in a village called Tha Ya Kone. We lived a simple life with no electricity, no running water. We used fire to cook. We got food by hunting, farming, or finding it in the mountains. There was one school in our village. Children from my village and children from other villages also attended our school. It wasn’t a very big school, it was just a plain building with students of all grades tucked…

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My weekend

This weekend I went to church and took a picture of Sunday School class singing up on the stage. After that I went to a Birthday party. Then my mom friend’s invited us to eat dinner with them. Finally, after we ate dinner we went to Antelope Park where I took photos of my two beautiful sisters.

Post by: EhSer

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During the Birthday party, the room was full of people coming to celebrate.

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My sisters, Moo Htoo on the left and Shar Moo on the right. 

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Pastor preaching at a Birthday Party

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Dinner at my mom’s friend’s house, there is pork, fish paste, rice, and vegetables.

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Sunday School sings during Karen Service at First Baptist Church.

April Paw, pt. 1

IMG_8543My name is Der Htoo and I was born in a refugee camp called Mae la located in the Tak province and Tha Song Yang district of northern Thailand on April 11, 1998. For some unknown reasons when I was born, I was awfully dark for an Asian baby, which was taboo. Some of the most memorable moments of my life come from growing up in the camp, even though I was really young at the time. I recall being the most handsome looking kid a mother and father could’ve ever raised or made. Well, that’s what I thought.

Growing up in the camp, mom and pop couldn’t afford a lot for us. They rarely made money since my pop was the chief of our zone, which often caused him to be super busy at most times, and mom had 6 children on her hands to look after. If they ever did make money, it went towards our family’s daily stomach fills. My grandma was the actual breadwinner of the family. Already at her prime, she worked non-stop at a hospital, where the money she made, was money she gave to us for church offerings and sometimes to buy ourselves some snacks here and there.

I spent most of my time in the camp playing, like every other kid. However, my way of killing time was a bit out of the ordinary for a kid. I had a thing for making gun powder. I learned the formula from a local hunter near by our hut; with a little potassium nitrate, a bit of sulfur and a whole lot of luck, I ended up burning one of my eyebrows off and blowing up half of my neighbors bathroom. Even afterward, I stole their jug of water to dip my whole head in for the rest of the day. Speaking of stealing, I was the number one thief in the town. I would steal stuff I couldn’t afford or stuff I didn’t already have such as shoes, watches, shirts from people swimming in the river, local Thai soldiers’ vegetables plants that caused me to get some good chasing by the soldiers and a lot more including getting shot at once. I got so good at stealing, I stole one of my dad’s friend’s money while he slept and I stole some eggs from the parents of my ex girlfriend while they were watching me. You’re probably wondering how’s that possible, well I have no idea. They probably just thought to themselves while watching me…”This kid believes he’s so slick, we’ll just let him be.”

Days became weeks, weeks became months, months became years and years flew by as if they had wings, and the time to move to the U.S. had finally come. Honestly none of us wanted to come, but we needed the resources and opportunities that weren’t available for us in the camp such as education and Wi-Fi. Also the Thai government, during that time, threatened to send us refugees back to Burma and let us get shot to death while crossing the river that was well over our head. I think any sane person would say, “hell no” to that. So we packed up the little bit of belongings that we had and boarded a giant bus with tears on our face on the last day which was July 3, 2007. We got on the first plane at Suvarnabhumi Airport. Everything was awful. The airplane ride was awful, the food was extremely awful, and the bathroom was super extremely awful, because I accidentally locked myself in the bathroom and spent most of the ride sitting on the toilet waiting for someone to save me before the landing.

Finally, we made our first stop at Incheon international Airport in Seoul, South Korea and ohh my gosh those lady servants on the planes were so cute, I thought they’d all make good housewives.They were also very kind. I remembered us having to wait almost a whole day in Incheon airport because of some unknown reasons. Anyways, so we waited and waited, jet lagged and all, it felt like forever. Some Korean lady working there happened to sympathize with us skinny refugees and brought us some sandwiches. It’s hard to not notice a group of skinny people walking around with big colorful striped bags looking like one of those starving children in the commercials you always see on T.V, but most people could care less. I had lost my appetite at the time, we all did, but I was touched by her actions.

Post written by April Paw

Moo Ku Taw

imageMy name is Moo Ku Taw. I was born in Thailand. When I was 2 months old, due to war, my family fled to a refugee camp in Thailand. I lived in a camp called Umphiem. The UN provided us with a little food every month, like rice, oil, and beans, but many people did not have enough food. I was raised in Umpiem and spent most of my life there until 2008 when I came to the United States.

Life in Umpiem was not as simple as it is here. The house I lived in was a stilt house made out of bamboo, with a roof made out of hay. We did not have running water, electricity, or transportation. To get water, we had to walk miles to the river. There, we would fill our big water bottles and bring them home to fill the water barrel. We had to do that several times until our water barrel was full. Our house had many windows to get as much light as we could to study during the daytime. At night, we used candles, but they didn’t shine through the whole house.

To get an education, many people had to walk 30-40 minutes every day. Some people didn’t get to go to school because their family could not afford it and some had to support their family. I was lucky because I had the chance to go to school and learn. I went to school there for four years until I came to America. We had to wear uniforms every other day and a Karen shirt on the other days. Some people could not buy new uniforms, so they had to wash it as soon as possible to get it clean.

We had to study and do our homework every single night. If you did not do it, the teacher would hit you or make you run around school as everyone watched you.  Our school was poor. Our walls were made of bamboo and metal roofing. We had a small chalkboard in every class. Usually, there were six rows of long benches and tables that were made out of bamboo for us to sit. Boys sat on one side and girls on the other side. We did not have computers or light. Our roof had holes, but it wasn’t replaced because it was too expensive, so when there were storms, rain water leaked on us. Many times we had to run home because it had rained and there weren’t meteorologists there to tell us about the weather. Many people got soaked and became sick.

Coming to America, life was so much easier. School is better and life got better. We do not have to walk far to get water because we have running water. We have transportation here and it makes life much easier. My goal for this project is to share about the Karen life in a Thai refugee camp.

 

Written by Moo Ku Taw

EhSerNayBlutMoo

IMG_8384My name is EhSerNayBlutMoo but I shortened my name to EhSer. Most people called me Aye Li Yah. I am from Thailand, and lived in the Umphiem Refugee Camp. I moved to the United States when I was 9 years old and entered the fifth grade at Holmes Elementary in Lincoln, Ne. Things were difficult for me because I didn’t understand any English. By the time I understood English I was in middle school at Park Middle. Many teachers supported me over there because they wanted me to be a good student. Now, I am a freshman at Lincoln High School. Things are sometimes difficult for me, but I study hard anyways. To be successful in the future I have to work hard on my school work. In the future, I hope to attend college.

Post Written by EhSerNayBlutMoo