Sarah M. | Emily
| Izzy | Pakou |
Tim | Erika | Mariah
| Gabby | Martha
| Emma | Alex | Nico
| Pao | Dylan
As I stepped off the yellow
school bus I saw a white, square, one-story building. There
was a sign that read: United Refugee Services. At first I
thought the building was kind of dull, but little did I know
what was in store inside.
I thought it was interesting that some of the things hanging
[on display] weren’t just crafts and things from Laos.
There was a bulletin board all about government for the refugees
so they would understand government in America. [The bulletin
board had] a newspaper clipping with all the presidents and
descriptions about them, a written English test, and facts
about what’s going on in the world right now.
[There was a doll] dressed in traditional clothing but her
skin was pale, her hair was brown and she had blue eyes with
extra long eyelashes. She didn’t look like any Hmong
person I’ve seen. There are many reasons why this could
have been. Maybe that was the only kind of doll they had or
maybe the makers were going to sell it to non-Hmong people
and thought they would like it better as a European person.
(I don’t know about you but I’d rather have a
doll that looked like the culture it was from.)
On the bus back to Randall I thought about how different
this experience was from Kaj Siab House, but [also] how similar
in how kind people were, and generous and welcoming. Thanks
About 20 years ago, United Refugee Services
started helping refugees [including] about 5,000 Hmong, 700
Cambodian, 700 Lao and even about 150 from the former Yugoslavia.
The United Refugee center [helps] people get new jobs, [find]
homes and adjust to their new lives, language and skills
The United Refugee Service doesn’t
only help new Hmong refugees, they also help Lao, Vietnamese
and Cambodian refugees learn English, find a job and resettle
in the community. They have a food pantry for refugees that
have just come and can’t support themselves.
We all saw a picture of a refugee camp.
It was very large and I could see the fence around the refugee
Some women wore traditional Hmong clothing to the [event
at] the center. Jenny said they looked young and pretty wearing
traditional Hmong clothes.
The Children’s Museum has been coming
here since July to get lots of information about what life
was like [for the Hmong] in Thailand and they’ve gotten
a lot. That’s because there a lot of people here who
[lived] in the [Thai] refugee camps.
While we were there we took a look around
at [all the] neat things they had on display. One thing I
looked at in detail was the story cloth.
At first I thought it showed a Hmong village in Laos. But
then I noticed, down toward the bottom of the story cloth,
it showed people with baskets on their backs [like] the ones
they use for the market. I finally figured it out when I looked
at the bottom; it showed a person laying out vegetables on
a stand. It was, in fact, a Hmong market place.
[Another story cloth] had white writing underneath each scene.
“It’s like a sewn comic book,” I said.
I had three main delights. My first one was eating egg rolls
and drinking Koolaid. My second one was finding out about
a new instrument called a “kieta.” My third delight
was when I was eating an egg roll and looking at a [Hmong]
doll and old man walked up to me, speaking Hmong. I could
not understand him but finally I understood what he meant.
He meant to feed the egg roll to the doll! So, I pretended
to feed it to her.
Hmong flutes are usually for girlfriends
and boyfriends. When he plays he doesn’t jump around,
he just walks and sometimes bends down.
I noticed that many of the flutes sounded
like a lot like the qeej. All of them looked kind of plain,
but the sound they made was incredible!
All the games [we played] were fun, but
it was [even] more fun [playing them] in front of an audience
and the class and to have classmates cheering you on. I like
these games because they played them in Laos and played them
for fun. Now games have batteries; you would never [need to]
go to a toy store to get [the things you need for these games]:
rubber bands, sticks, old flip-flops. No way! It was very
nice for them to have us. Thank you!
[A man] picked [some] kids from our class
to play a marble game that none of us have ever seen. You
take turns trying to shoot a marble into a hole. If [your
marble is] within a hand length [of the hole] you can just
put your marble in. After you get the marble in the hole,
[the other player] tries to hit it. If you do, you win!
In one game, you put a lot of rubber bands
on a stick, loosely, so they can fall off. You put the stick
on the ground and draw a line about ten feet away. You also
need a partner and some shoes. Standing by the stick, you
each throw one shoe, the person who gets closest to the line
goes first. You stand behind the line and try to hit the stick
with the shoe. If you hit the stick and knock some rubber
bands off it the ones that are not touching the stick are
yours to keep. Wherever your shoe lies is where you stand
for your next turn. The person who gets the last rubber band
At the URS, we met Yang Cha [who] had a
Hmong rifle. It was used to hunt and protect the family. The
gun has [belonged to his family] since the Vietnam War started.
It has a special rock that makes sparks when it goes off [and]
you have to reload it every time you shoot. It can shoot about
The Hmong people there were so welcoming
to us and happy for us to be there. I feel so comfortable
with the Hmong people now.