Picnic with Bhutanese Refugees

Last week Friday, we had opportunity to join with Bhutanese Refugees for a picnic in Ada Town Park. People had brought many dishes along with some typical Nepali food. However, it seemed to be pizza dominated the rest of the dishes. There were games – Soccer, Basketball, ultimate Frisbee, and swing. Elderly people were engaged in talking, while youngsters kept themselves busy with games.

These two elderly people moved to the United States of America as Bhutanese Refugees through Third World Resettlement program this year. They spent all their heydays in Bhutan until they were exiled from their own land due to ethnic genocide triggered by then king Jigme Singe Wangchuk back in 1989-1990.

They took refuge in Nepal and lived there for 18 years in the refugee camp. Their story took a new twist when the US Government brought them to resettle in America. Life is not easy for most of the elderly people who had not even been to Kathmandu in their lifetime. To adjust in the foreign land where they know nothing about people, culture, food, language etc., is a challenge. Just imagine how we would feel when we find ourselves in the midst of strangers!!!

These people long for chit-chat and relationship with people who can speak their language and understand how they are feeling. They want to share their story… and listen to our story. They just want to discharge their heavyheartedness and loneliness that they feel here. Some refugees are lucky enough to find their community and benevolent Christian sponsors and friends around.

In this photo, these two people are sharing … there was neither barricade of language nor fear of being getting into cultural misunderstandings. There is freedom to share with each other, make fun of something and laugh at each other!

These refugees, especially the older generation who still long to go the country they were born in!!

Update: 11/06/2012

Most of these people have now received Green Card from the US Government and some are in the process to be naturalized citizens of the country and no more in refugee status.

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