| Maggie | Jeremy
| Nico | Dylan
| Pakou | Pao
| Mariah | Cristina
| Jenny | Izzy S. |
Sara K. | Nate
| Erika | Benjamin
| Abigail | Sarah
M. | Gabby
Today Sue came to our classroom and told
us about refugees, Highlands, and the three seasons. She showed
us pictures about mountains, Hmong people, Akha and many others
like Thin and Lisu.
Back in Laos, they didn’t have strollers for their
babies, so they used cloth to wrap it around their babies
and put it on their backs. The cloth was either on their backs
The houses in the villages were made out of wheat or grass
and bamboo. The top of the house is made out of grass and
the rest is made out of bamboo. The bed is also made out of
bamboo and has a cloth over it because mosquitoes could get
in the house. The cloth is a protection from the mosquitoes
because the mosquitoes carry malaria. Malaria is a disease
that can kill you.
There are two different ways of doing paj ntaub: The wax
way or else the regular way, which you do with your hands.
The Highlands was mostly where people lived because there
was more space for growing things.
Today my class and I had a presentation
by a lady named Sue Bassett. She told us about Highlanders
(people who live in the mountains) and refugee camps. I liked
the refugee camp part best. She was a nurse in a refugee camp!
At the refugee camp, people were always getting sick. So
the nurses were kept awfully busy with the measles, burns,
skin problems and people who did not get enough food and water.
At a refugee camp to go to the bathroom, you would squat
over a hole and go to the bathroom. To shower you would pour
water over yourself with a towel thing over you and when that
one got too wet, you would put on another one.
The Hmong refugees would often die on their way to a refugee
camp while crossing the Mekong River. There not only were
dangers on your way to a refugee camp, there were dangers
at the refugee camp, like: getting sick, growing weak, and,
of course, dying. Also on the way there you could die, step
on a mine, get shot and lose a child or any member of the
The Hmong called Americans “furung” instead of
foreign. Men would fight roosters.
Susan Bassett kept on talking about
weather. When it rained in Laos, little kids would get things
that would float through the water because the water would
make a little river and kids found slippers, pans, etc. It’s
kind of fishing but you’re not really fishing because
you’re not fishing fish. When it was fall, it would
be cold at night and it would be steaming hot at day.
Some Hmong elders and children would play Kawtow, Tublub,
rocks and sticks, soccer and lots of more exciting games.
Susan Bassett showed pictures of tools that would smush rice
to make dough. They would take corn that was still on the
cob and put it in the machine and it would take all the corn
and eat it.
There’s lots of things made out of bamboo, dry long
grass, etc. For example, baskets, a roof of a house, backpacks,
and a lot more stuff that I don’t know the names.
Some of the Hmong people couldn’t
see well so Susan Bassett came and gave them glasses so they
could still l see and they can also use it to do their needle
working like a paj ntaub
The Hmong at the refugee camp had to sleep on the ground
and it wasn’t a very good place to really stay at for
a long time because a lot of people had died at the refugee
camp of diseases not enough food and got shot from the war
and that is how people die. The disease could spread to the
people that lived by them. When people are sick, they would
take a goat horn or something like that and they would rub
it against their skin and it would turn red and then it will
heal. When the babies don’t get enough food then they
would get sent to a place that will provide food for the Hmong
people that needed it. Most of the Hmong people didn’t
have that much food for the children, especially the babies
because they didn’t get fed as much. When the babies
were born at home, Susan Bassett went over and weighed the
baby and gave a birth certificate. She would see that they
had what they needed, what they wanted for the baby, like
food, diapers, and stuff like that. Then they would give it
to the family.
The Hmong babies only wore a t-shirt and the older Hmong
kids wore a t-shirt and pants.
Hmong, Akha, Thin, Lisu, and Mien people
lived in the mountains in Laos. Some, if they had money, had
horses to carry them and their supplies to the marketplace
to sell. If they didn’t have a horse, they would walk
on dirt roads or sometimes there wasn’t even a road.
They would have a woven basket on their back that carried
their goods. They didn’t have a lot of money so from
when they’re born until when they’re two, they
usually don’t wear clothes and from two to three they
wear just shirts and four and older, you get pants, too.
In the refugee camps, there were a lot of sick people and
there was a camp clinic. The most common sickness was malnutrition.
This is when you don’t have enough of something like
protein, vitamin C, etc. and you get really skinny. There
was a special place for kids over five where they gave them
special food loaded with vitamins and nutrition. To bring
out nutrition, you can rub a back really hard. It turns red.
In America, people thought that the parents abused them when
all they were doing was helping them.
Many people slept in the same bed in the refugee camp. It
was a good sometimes because in the cold season at night it
got cold and they stayed warm. The kitchen was basically a
corner of the room with a fire. They also had a ring of metal
to put a pot on to cook their food on.
Sue told us that it wasn’t only Hmong
that lived in the Highlands and refugee camps. There were
also Mien, Akha, Lisu, and others. When people came to Thailand
from Laos they didn’t know how to swim so they had to
make rafts, triangles or use two pieces of bamboo stuck under
their armpits. When they got to Thailand, the Thai didn’t
want them there because they didn’t want their country
to overflow. Once the Hmong got in the refugee camps, many
people got sick from not having enough food. There were also
people who were in the hospital because of gunshots and other
sicknesses. But a lot of people had fun. Kids would go to
the stream and collect stuff that had been dropped farther
up stream, like flip-flops, toys. Once in a while, they would
catch a fish.
Sometimes a very bad thing would happen. There would be a
fire. People would run into their houses and grab everything
they could, then start running away as fast as they could.