I have been home for over a week now. Ashley and I attempted to cook a Thai dinner last night for our family...and, well, we might need to go back to our Thai cooking school! But, it was fun to be able to share some of our experience, stories and photos with our family.
It is hard, though, to convey what we felt while sitting with those proud, beautiful people, the Karen people, refugees of their homeland. I am still processing our trip and probably will be processing it for quite some time. And, frankly, I am a bit anxious about trying to sum up our experiences...because it has become so important to me... and I want to provide it just the right words...evoke just the right emotions in you, the reader... Today, I've finally figured out that if I don't start writing, no one will ever know...and people should know…so...bear with me as I try to put into adequate words my experience with the Karen people of Burma.
I met this woman in one of the camps we visited. She, and another woman, had traveled days in the jungle in hopes of getting an opportunity to tell us her story. In hopes, I think, of not feeling alone in the world. I hope I can at least give her that...a voice...in the world.
She is nearly my age. She has 6 children, including the littlest one leaning against her. She cares for her children the best that she can and they are clearly the focus of her life...she smiled when she talked about them. She worries about their health, as all moms do, she worries about their education and their future. She worries about her own future too, I am sure, but her biggest worry is for her children. She likes to sew. She made the traditional Karen top she was wearing...it was beautiful; intricate and colorful. I felt a connection with this woman. She was really lovely and strong...and, though we didn't speak each other's language at all, there seemed a moment or two when we both recognized that perhaps, in different circumstances, we might be friends.
She came to tell us her story. She walked through the jungle, with her baby on her back, in flip flops, for five days, so that we could hear her, so that we could validate her…and perhaps that we might give her hope, that she is not alone.
Her story follows next, give me a day or two to find just the right words.