It Is My Life

written by Paw Eh

Everybody wishes to have a better life that is free and fair.
Sometimes in life it is better to explore new things even though it may not be easy all the time. Everybody wishes to have a better life that is free and fair, but not everybody can go through it easily. Anyway, we might learn from it as a good experience.

In my home country of Burma, people were in a difficult situation and looked for a way to escape to different places. Many of them were flooding into Karen refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border. I left my village and moved to a camp when I was four. I was happy to get a chance to study freely, but when I grew up, I was depressed spending most of my time in the camp because refugee rights were restricted.

In 2006, the resettlement program started. The news spread to all Karen refugee camps but not everybody could apply for it. Those who were registered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees qualified to apply for it. Many families left, while other family members remained in the camp. It took years for them to reunite again. Some people were excited to apply for resettlement in order to get a better life and some considered remaining in the camps.

In 2012, there was news for refugees to start thinking about repatriation, since the situation in refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border was getting worse. Each year funding for refugees decreased. Refugees do understand that it has been a long time that they have stayed in the camp, but we dared not go home yet because the civil war was still going on.

My family discussed our future and made the decision to move forward instead of returning to Burma. It doesn’t mean that we don’t want to return there. We have been away from home for so long. We would love to be there again and enjoy its beauty with our beloved family and friends, but we can’t because of the political situation. We finally applied for the resettlement program. Everything had gone well and my parents resettled to the U.S. in 2015. I stayed behind in the camp with my husband for a couple years and in 2018, by the grace of God, we safely landed in the U.S. too.

We would love to be there again and enjoy its beauty with our beloved family and friends
After we arrived here, we have seen a huge change. The weather is different here. It looks beautiful with the snow, but it is pretty cold. At first, it made me miss my bamboo house on the side of the hill in the camp. I miss my beloved family and friends who stay behind. On the other hand, we have to think about our new life here. We worry bout our health, job, and daily life, however, we know that we once were in the jungle and we needed to get out. So, these are the steps we must go through.

I would like to say thank you so much to the members of Arrive Ministries. You do a great thing for those who are in need. You warmly welcomed us to the U.S. as new arrivals. You provided orientation, which is important to know to build a new life here. I was happy to learn how to use public transportation. Even though we may not be able to express every single thing you have done, I really appreciate your help and kind consideration.

Paw Eh arrived through the Reception and Placement program last spring. She lives with her husband and parents in St. Paul, where she attends school, intent on further improving her English.