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My (refugee) life

Each and every person living in this world has different experience in his/her life. Today I would like to share my life experience as a refugee with you.

I am now 43 years old but I still remember my painful experience in the past clearly. I have told my story to all of my children and taught them to be patient and endure everything that happens in their life.

My mother passed away when I was very young. My father remarried in order to find someone to help him taking care his family. Unfortunately my stepmother did not take good care of us. She took advantage from us every time she had chance. My siblings had to stay with different relatives. They had to faced a lot of problems and pressure.

When I grew up, I got married and stayed with my in-law. I was verbally abused and insulted because I am orphan. Later on my heart had to crumble. My eldest son passed away when he was only 2 years old because we did not have any medicine in our village. After that my husband and I moved to another place. We built our own house and plaint vegetables for our family around it.

My village was peaceful until I had my forth child. It was during a period of 1996-1997 that SPDC took offense in every village around ours. They burned down every house, looted our properties and killed our animals.

The villagers had to flee from their homes in the middle of the night. They could take only few important things. My husband was not with me at that time because he had to cook for KNU soldiers. It was one of the hardest time in my life. My four small children and I had to flee into jungle with other villagers. We did not have enough pots for cooking rice or plates for eating. We needed to share everything with others. We used lotus leafs as our plates and ate only rice and salt. My children got sick because salt made their throat itched.

We moved from one place to another place. Many villagers were sick and died in the jungle. It was very difficult time for all of us. We become displaced persons but we kept fighting for our lives. We had gone through many difficulties and a lot of suffering more than words can explain.

Until one day, we arrived to Thailand and become refugees. I felt relief even we had to stay in a refugee camp. We have opportunity to start our new life as other human being. We have been provided opportunity to resettle to the third country which makes me and my husband have to separate from our children. My husband does not want to go anywhere anymore. He allowed our children to resettle in the third country for their better life. They still have their own dream to reach.

I have lived in refugee camp like a baby bird that has to wait for its mother to feed. I feel that I have lost my dignity as human being. I cannot live independently. My cruel memory in the past has haunted me and made me unable to be confident and independent as I used to be. I always feel that I have never had strength enough to stand by myself. I always feel that I have never had rights enough to be independent. I finally have gradually lost my dream and my faith.

Paw Lay Lay
Ban Don Yang camp