Enote 130                                                      May 31, 2017

A Karen Party in Hamilton

Dear Friends,

Most of you may already know that a large group of Karen refugees settled in Utica, NY just a few miles from our home in Hamilton.

Yesterday we invited several down to our house for rememberance, discussion, and supper. The Karen brought food they had prepared, some bamboo soup, and ground beef "a little bit spicy" --watch out when a Karen says this, you can easily set your tongue on fire--, and a noodle dish. Actually it was all quite tasty. Of course we did not cook enough rice, even though we know the Karen appetite for rice is legendary, we seem never to cook enough rice.

Several who came we had met in Gray Hta on our first trip in 1992, and we shatred treasured memories of that first visit. We also asked the younger people about their experiences leaving home (which for many was Mae Hla refugee camp) and coming to reside in the United States. What was their biggest surprise? "Snow: and it is very cold", we were told. Some of the older refugees are still trying to understand what it is to be free; to be able to travel to any part of this country, and to live; to be able freely to experss their opinion; the variety of hospitals and schools impressed them, and the absence religious discrimination (it has to be said that all of the Karen at our party were Christians).

We were joined by a woman from Kenya who is staying with a friend while she considers wether or not to immigrate to this country. She was very happy to participate in this cross cultural discussion with Asians, and Americans. I think this gave her an opportunity to see a group of native Americans and Asians talk about their similarities and differences and to make comparisons with her own country.

We also asked about the prospects of Burma ever becoming a unified country. Sadly no one believed this would happen. When pressed all they could offer was hope.

Karen Party
Back row from the left: Tom & Liz Brackett, Ed & Marsha Sitts, Margaret from Kenya & Edwin. Priscilla, I believe, is right in front of Edwin. Sorry that's all I know. Oh also is shown our new puppy, Berkeley, named after the university where Liz and I met.

I was a great time to share old memories, and I am thankful they all came down to visit us. I guess that's enough for now.

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Best Wishes to all,