Profiles in Success

portrait of ngo hna

I am from one of the Christian families from Myanmar that have been brought to the United States. I was born on October 15, 1991 in Chin State Matupi Town. When I was six years of age my father died suddenly of an unknown illness. Seven years later I lost my mother, again to an unknown illness. At the age of thirteen I had lost both my parents and went to live with my Uncle, who was very good to me.

I was taken from Thailand to Malaysia at which time we were living in the refugee camp. We were very fearful of the soldiers. They would stop us all the time and want to see our Citizen Card which we did not have because we had fled the country of Burma I was very sad because I had lost my parents, I had to flee my country and now I could not go to school. One day my Uncle was stopped by the police and they demanded his Citizen Card which he did not have at this time. He was arrested and sent to jail. I was sad and lonely but the people in our villages took care of me. I was very grateful.

When my Uncle was released from jail we began to apply to the UN so we could come to the United States. It took us two years to finally be able to leave Malaysia. During that two years we lived in fear of being put in jail. There was a lot of red tape to go through but on November 19, 2008, my Uncle and I arrived in Rochester, New York. Even though I am happy to be here I will always miss my country. I am studying very hard in hope that I may go to college to become a doctor and someday return to my country to help my own people.

I want to take the time to thanks everyone for everything they have done for me. Thank you and God bless America. - Ngo Hna

Profiles in Success - Pah Bo Day

portrait of pah bo day

My name is Pah Bo Day. I was born in Burma in 1942, (Now it’s called “Myarmar”. I am Karen speaker. It was another ethnic group from Burma. I used to work in the farm and garden since I was a young boy. I never ever had chance to go to school and study since there was civil war in Burma. I had to move place to place for looking to stay safely.

However, I could not find any safe place inside Burma till I had to escape out of from Burma and found a place to stay between Thailand and Burma border. I didn’t even remember the exactly date and year when I flee to Thailand because I often flee place to place. Sometimes I didn’t even know the place where I was stood on. That’s was probably around 1989-1990s. I stayed between the borders and got married to my wife at that place.

Later on, they named the place into “Refugee Camp”. All of my children were born in refugee camp and grew up there. They went to school in refugee camp. In refugee camp, there was no opportunity for generations to have a dream or going back to Burma. We had lived in refugee camp over twenty years. It was so hard for me to support my family. I was an uneducated person so no job for me. Sometimes, I went outside the refugee camp to look for daily job from Thai farmers. They paid me a little on daily. I came back to help my family. Actually, refugee people were not allowed to go outside the refugee camp though. Some of the Thai people’s farms were just only 2 hours to go on foot. So I could come back home at night after working for them. I spent most of my life in refugee camp because there was no way for me to go back to Burma. It was not safe for any one.

In 2005, there was an opportunity to apply for resettling into another new country such as America and Australia. I was not interested because I knew I could not speak their languages. It would be my big problem to face otherwise I would not be able to support my family in new country. I was nerves and decided never to leave again. My older daughter, Kar Nar, wanted to apply for resettling into America when she just turned into 18 years old. I didn’t agree with her decision because I was worried for her. Finally, she made her own decision without listen to me and left us anyway to come to America alone when she was only 18 years old. At that time, my heart was buried like a fire because too much of worries for my 18 years old daughter left us (her family) and had no relatives or no one that she might knew in new country. I could say that she was a brave kid.

My daughter came to American in October 2010 alone. After one and half years, our family heard that she graduated from high school. I felt better about her. She would continue to study. Later on, the rest family’s members that left in refugee camp started to make decision to apply for resettling into America. We still had communicated with our daughter from here often till before we left refugee camp one day.

My family and I arrived into this country on January, 2014. We reunited again in here. My daughter takes good care of me, all of us. I got so nerves when I first arrived here. Now, I am getting help for what I need. I gradually lost my hearing but I got to see ear doctor. I have a pair of hearing aid with me now. I always look for something to do, such as volunteer job for helping around or things that relate to garden works. Sometimes I got back pain and rests at home. I could not help anything when my back is starting to hurt me. I do not want to get bored for staying home all day. So I always look for something to do when if my back doesn’t hurt or if I am still strong and healthy. I thank my daughter so much because she helps me to connect with people for helping me gets something to do. I could not do it by myself as I could not speak English. I am willing to learn but now I feel like my memory getting so poor. I could not remember things well. I will only helping around as long as I am healthy. - Pah Bo Day