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qnote 09

October 13, 2012

Dear Friends,

Recently I came to the conclusion that as compared with our refugee friends, we Americans are "home deprived". Most of us have moved several times from the place of our birth whereas our refugee friends lived in villages of their parents, and their grandparents. Those who are animists (spirit worshippers) lived in their homes within a community of spirits which included those associated with rivers, mountains, and other prominent features of the land along with their ancestors. When they leave their home, they leave their community of spirits behind. Their home is part of who they are; their identity.

LeavingPictures like this one showing refugees fleeing their homes after an attack by the army, prompt me to wonder what it must be like carrying all your posessions, and leaving, perhaps forever, your home. Can you imagine being forced or frightened enough by the arrmy to leave your home?

I got one answer to my question several years ago by this hill-tribe woman seen here between Liz and Dr. Cynthia. This picture was taken on an island in the middle of the Moei river which separates Burma from Thailand. Although right on the border, the island was officially part of Burma. Liz, Cynthia, & Hill-tribe Woman The woman along with several villagers, had recently been driven from her home and they were temporarily living on this island. We tried to persuade this woman to cross the river to Thailand, only a few yards away.There she could board a truck which would take her to saftey in a refugee camp just a few miles away. Her first comment was, "I once saw a truck with people riding in it, but I didn't get in it." We pressed her, saying the Burma army might come here to attack her again. She finally replied, "If it comes to that, I am old I will die here." Liz and I never saw her after we departed.

Do the refugees want to go back home? Of course they do, but the terrible atrocities committed by the army against them are still in their minds and right now they are too scared to return. Just thought you'd like to know.

This is the season of our annual fund-raising campaign. We have promised to do this only once each year. If you have already contributed, our hearty thanks, if you still have to contribute, please do so soon so we can plan our work for the new year.

Best Wishes to all,

Tom