Stay Htoo Faith Story
St. David's, East Greenbush
In the center of the village they surround my uncle and all shoot but they do not kill him. He is still alive when they make long slit in his skin with a knife. They cut each of his cheek, and his arms and on his legs and his chest too. They want him to die but they want him to suffer first. Later when the soldiers go we come back to the village. We see the soldiers leave my uncle's body in the village center. They lay him out very carefully and they cover him with a blanket. We don't know what to think. People they come to see him. When they come very close one man sees around the body something buried in the dirt - things all around the body. Somebody yell "get back!" Somebody know these are land mines.
Everybody get back and no land mine blow up. The soldier, they want to kill more people so they set this trap to blow us up when we come to care for our dead uncle. But God is with us, no more people die.
When we walk through our village we see the soldier kill all our pigs and our chicken. They take all our food; maybe they eat some and then they burn everything else or throw it in the dirt. They don't kill us but they want to make us starve. They want to make all of us dead.
We hide in the jungle for more than one year. We have nothing, only a little rice. We look for food where we can find it. We try to make our little rice last long time and eat just a little bit each day. So many people get sick; many people they die because we have no food and the water is not clean. Many die from diarrhea. Many people die from malaria. We have no medicine and we have no doctor. When someone gets sick, we do the best we can to take care and we pray. Sometime we hear somebody someplace have some medicine. Sometime we can trade for this medicine. Sometime it helps and sometime it's too late. We do all we can...pray for them and we take care of them and if they die, we cry and we sad but we know it's God's will. My family is blessed; we hide in the jungle one year and all my brother and sister, me, my ma and daddy...we all still alive.
My daddy tell me, you are the oldest, you go with the older kids who are going to the refugee camps. Your brothers and sisters are too young. So I go with some others who know where the refugee camp is...we walk for many days. The walk is hard and I am alone and I cry because I miss my ma and daddy. I am all alone and I am scared and the walk is very hard through the mountains. I am so sad and so tired...
We make it to the camp. The camp is not good but it is better than the jungle. I cannot go out but I have food to eat and I not so scared the solder will kill me. In the camp I learn. I go to school and I teach school too. In the camp I get married and I have all three my kid. I live in the camp sixteen years. In all that time I don't ever see my ma and daddy.
When I get refugee status to come to America, I am very scared. I know nothing. All I know is the village and the jungle and the camp. I think in my mind, "What is America?", but I not know for sure.
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