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Interview with Toua Yang

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Toua Yang was born in Xhiangkhouang, Laos. He escaped to a refugee camp in Thailand, where he spent ten years before coming to the U.S. At the time of the interview Yang was a mental health case manager for Lyon, Redwood Falls, Yellow Medicine, and Murray counties. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Escaping Laos - experiences in refugee camp - adjusting to life in America - family - health issues in the Hmong community - Minnesota's education system and the achievement gap.

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Asian American & Pacific Islander
Oral History Project
Narrator: Toua Yang Interviewer: Pa Yang

TOUA YANG
Narrators

PA YANG
Interviewer

Cover design: Kim Jackson Copyright © 2013 by Minnesota Historical Society All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy and recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Oral History Office, Minnesota Historical Society, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102.

THE MINNESOTA ASIAN COMMUNITIES ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
The Asian population of Minnesota has grown dramatically since 1980 and in particular during the period from 1990 to the present. The Asian community is one of the largest and most diverse in the state, and is particularly noteworthy because its growth has been spread across such a wide spectrum of ethnic groups. The Minnesota Historical Society and the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans formed a partnership to create a series of projects of oral history interviews with Asian community leaders. The projects are intended to help chronicle the history, successes, challenges, and contributions of this diverse and highly important group of Minnesotans. During the past twenty years the Minnesota Historical Society has successfully worked with many immigrant communities in the state to ensure that the stories of their arrival, settlement, and adjustment to life in Minnesota becomes part of the historical record. While the Society has worked with the Asian Indian, Tibetan, Cambodian and Hmong communities in the recent past, the current project includes interviews with members of the Vietnamese, Filipino, Lao and Korean communities, with more planned for the future. These new projects have created an expanded record that that better represents the Asian community and its importance to the state. The project could not have succeeded without the efforts of a remarkable group of advisors who helped frame the topics for discussion, and the narrators who shared their inspiring stories in each interview. We are deeply grateful for their interest and their commitment to the cause of history.

Ryan K. Barland Minnesota Historical Society

Kao Ly Ilean Her Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans

 

THE INTERVIEW
 

   

Toua Yang Narrator Pa Yang Interviewer Marshall, Minnesota September 29, 2012 Toua Yang Pa Yang -TY -PA

PY: Today is September 29, 2012. I’m here with Toua Yang from Marshall, Minnesota. Can you please state your name? TY: Toua Yang. PY: Can you tell me when and where you were born? TY: I was born in Laos. PY: What city or province were you born in? TY: Xhiangkhouang. PY: Can you tell me if you can still remember how your parents looked like when you were younger? TY: No. I think my mom was only thirteen and my dad was like eighteen when they got married. PY: Can you tell me your father’s name? TY: Deng Yang. PY: Can you spell that out for me? TY: D-E-N-G. PY: Can you tell me your mother’s name? TY: Pang Yang. P-A-N-G. PY: How many brothers and sisters do you have? TY: I have four brothers and five sisters.
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PY: Do you know where they are right now? TY: My older sister, she lives in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. And then my second sister, she lives in Madison, Wisconsin. And the rest of them live in Walnut Grove, Minnesota. And all my brothers live in Walnut Grove, too. PY: Can you tell me how your house looked like when you were growing up? Do you remember how your house looked like? TY: No. As I remember, we were already living in the refugee camp. And I don’t think we even had a house, we just have a sharing long apartment or something. PY: Can you tell me or do you remember what kind of education you received as a child? TY: Actually, it was pretty good for me because of my grandpa. He paid for a Thai teacher to come into our house. And then also English teacher, so I actually got to study Thai and English back then. PY: Was this in Laos? TY: No, this was back in the camp. PY: In the camp, in Thailand? TY: Yes, in Thailand. PY: Can you tell me if you remember the toys you played with as a child? TY: As far as I know, only soccer balls. That’s the only toy I had. PY: How did you get along with your siblings? TY: We get along okay. Because I’m a little bit older than them and I didn’t do a lot of things with them growing up because they were little. And we didn’t do much together besides hanging out with grown-ups. So I don’t do anything with my sisters and my brothers at all. PY: Are you the oldest? TY: Yes. PY: Can you describe the village or do you remember how the village looked like in Laos? TY: No. PY: You don’t?
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TY: No. I think I was like a year and a half. So I don’t remember anything back in Laos. PY: How did you guys end up in Thailand? What made your family move to Thailand? TY: We moved to Thailand because all the communists killing each other and my parents decided that we cannot stay any longer. And my dad was also in the services, so we had to move on, move to Thailand. PY: So it was during the War in Laos? TY: Yes, it was. PY: Okay. And you said that your dad participated in the war? TY: Yes. PY: What did he serve as? TY: He served as a lieutenant. PY: Do you remember any stories about your parents crossing the Mekong River? TY: Yes [sighs]. We crossed over with some banana tree branch. I remember my dad saying he just putted a couple banana trees together; he made it into a canoe or something like that. So everybody would just hang on to pieces of this banana canoe, and then most of the people didn’t know how to swim, but it was what got us to Thailand. So my dad and my uncle, they are the ones that took us across the Mekong River. PY: Did your father go back to Laos after you guys left? TY: Yes. When we got to the refugee camp we stayed there, and my dad went back for at least four or five more years. He went back in there for the services before he actually came back to the refugee and never went back again. PY: Can you describe the camp for me, how it looks like? TY: The camp is huge. It’s a lot of people. And then pretty much there’s nothing to do there. All we have to do is just waiting for the United… PY: The UN, United Nations? TY: Yes, the UN to provide the food and pretty much clothing and everything. And then all the UN programs, like the education program, the art program, and each nation, you know, came in, had their own ambassador in the camp.

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PY: How long did you guys stay in the camp? TY: I think about ten years. PY: Can you tell me, did people farm? Or did you guys strictly get your food from the UN? TY: My mom would just do a little garden, you know, just a little garden, but we don’t have any piece of land to really do any farming. PY: What kind of education did you receive after your childhood? Did you go to high school inside this camp? TY: Yes. I went to a high school inside the camp, middle school. Middle school, I finished middle school. PY: What was your favorite subject? TY: I was pretty good in art. PY: And you said that you were taught English in the camp as well? TY: Yes, English and Thai and Lao. PY: Can you tell me the size of the classroom? TY: Oh, between fifteen to twenty. PY: Were they all Hmong students? TY: Yes. PY: Or was there Thai and Lao students? TY: No, just strictly Hmong. PY: Can you tell me what made you decide to come to the US? TY: Because we had nowhere to go. [Sighs] The Thai people, they don’t want us there. And everybody there had a choice of staying, go back to Laos, or you had to go to a third country. So we picked US because we thought the US would be the best place to go. PY: How long did it take the UN to process your paperwork? TY: Less than six months, I think three months. PY: Can you tell me the process?
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TY: At first you go register your name and they give you an ID number for each individual and then you receive a family ID. You then wait for your name to come up, and then when it has come up, then just pack and go. And we had to, you know, we had to come to another camp. PY: So you were transferred to a different camp? TY: Yes, we went to another camp. This camp is the one that you had to go to for your physical check and you had to go there to learn more English. English was the only language strictly taught. Just like studying, middle school or more like a high school, pre-high school, I guess like that. PY: Were the camp similar? Or were they different? TY: Oh, it’s different, tighter. There was not enough space, it's not so big. PY: So it was a smaller camp? TY: Yes, it’s a smaller camp. It’s about three blocks square, you know, around that, around the camp. PY: Do you remember how many families were in this small camp? TY: Ah, there was a lot. We were mixed with other like Cambodian, Lao, and then some Vietnamese. PY: Were you excited as a child to come to the US? TY: Yes. I remember it was exciting that I actually get to go to a place where I actually could have my own freedom and have a chance to become better a person. PY: What did you hear about the US before you arrived here? TY: Before we came, I actually worked with the nurses that work for the UN, so I already worked as a translator for the UN when I was about ten to eleven years old. So I heard a lot of good things about the US. And then I received my first four dollars, it was from a nurses. She gave me four dollars, real dollars. And I questioned her, “Is this real money?” She was laughing at me! [Chuckles] PY: Great. Can you tell me more about working for the UN? TY: It’s was an exciting opportunity, you know, well, not many people that are around my age that lived in the camp got to do this kind of job. And since I worked for the UN, the process for my family to come here, to come to the US is easier and faster. And I got a lot of help. And I have learned a lot of things from working with the UN’s faculty and the staff there.

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PY: How much were you paid? TY: About four dollars a week. I don’t know how much baht four dollars that would be if calculated. I think it’s around two hundred fifty baht. Because, it’s about like one dollar equal to thirty baht or something like that. PY: Were these American nurses? TY: No, Thai nurses. PY: Thai nurses. When your family decided to move to the US why did you guys choose Minnesota or did you go to a different place first? TY: We were actually located to Texas. PY: What made you guys decide to come to Texas or was your sponsor from there? TY: Yes, yes, my mother’s brother was our sponsor so we went directly to Texas. There were more people that we knew who lived in Minnesota and my family also saw that Minnesota reminded them of our homeland because it’s more like an agriculture State. So my parents like it better here than any other state because of the agriculture. Very similar to Laos. PY: What year was it when you arrived here? TY: 1990, isn’t it? No. 1990, yes. PY: 1990? TY: Yes. PY: Were you married by then? TY: No. PY: How old were you? TY: Ah, about twelve. PY: What year did you move to Minnesota? TY: Actually we moved to Wisconsin first. Then I finished school in Wisconsin and then I moved to Boston to work in Boston for ten years over there. So I came back here about 2005, the end of 2005. PY: Can you tell me about your experience; was there any culture shock when you arrived in Texas?
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TY: No, because when we came to Texas, we lived with family. So then we came during the summer time, so we don’t even have a chance to go to school at all. We only stayed in Texas for a few months and then we moved to Madison, Wisconsin. PY: When you moved to Madison, Wisconsin, did you feel that you were welcome? TY: Yes. I felt like everyone down there is nice. And we got a lot of help from the US program, the welfare program, the system help us to find a place to live and money to buy food, which is really nice. PY: You said that you received your education when you lived in Madison. What did you pursue? TY: I have my bachelor’s degree in public policy, public policy administrations. PY: What was the university that you graduated from? TY: University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. PY: In 2005, when you arrived in Minnesota, what made you decide to come to Minnesota? Was your family here already? TY: Yes. My parents, they moved here before I moved here because my parents wanted me to, you know, come back and live closer to them so they can get more help. PY: What city were they living in? TY: In Walnut Grove. PY: So they moved there from Madison straight to Walnut Grove? TY: Walnut Grove, yes. PY: Can you tell me about your experience or your first time being in Walnut Grove? Did you enjoy the place? Did you like the place? TY: There is really nothing at all, you know, moving from Boston to Walnut Grove. I felt like I was living in a ghost town. Nothing to do besides go to work and then come home, and then pretty much that’s it, there is nothing else to do. PY: Did you get married? TY: Yes. I got married in 2001. PY: And what’s your wife’s name?
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TY: Ouna. PY: How do you spell that? TY: O-U-N-A. PY: Last name? TY: Lor. PY: Yang? Lor? And do you have any children? TY: Yes, we have two twin daughters. PY: Two daughters? TY: Yes. PY: A set of twins? TY: Yes. PY: And what are their names? TY: The oldest one is Kalaini. PY: And the second one? TY: Karina. PY: And how old are they now? TY: Ah, eight. PY: Eight. Can you tell me your occupation as of the moment? TY: I work as a mental health case manager, worker. Case manager. PY: And what county do you serve? TY: I serve Lyon County, Redwood Falls County, Yellow Medicine, and Murray County. So I serve five different counties. PY: Can you tell me your duties as a case worker?

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TY: I usually get referrals from a doctor. For example, there might be a situation where the client says they are going to commit suicide. The referral from the doctor is that I need to go and make sure that they’re not thinking about doing that and help them with developing a plan that helps them reduce stress, and then the mental health issues, so they don’t think about killing themselves or kill harming other people. I also help people that don’t have health insurance to get health insurance for their family. PY: And how long have you been a caseworker? TY: Eight years. PY: Do you serve just the Asian Pacific community or do you serve all ethnicities? TY: All, everyone. PY: Can you tell me some of the struggles you’ve had with your position? TY: I have had struggles meeting and giving service with Caucasian because they don’t always trust me because I’m Asian during our initial meeting. We have to build that trust early in the service. It’s the hardest part, you know, they sometimes don’t have confidence in you, that you might not be able to help them. But after a while they start to see that you know what you are doing and what you’re supposed to do. That is when they actually start to trust you. Then you can continue your service for the client for a long time instead of not completing all your services and then they kind of close you out. But in my cases, it’s never happened like that. PY: So you’ve built relationships with these clients? TY: Yes. After gaining the client’s trust, they’ll want to continue to get your services and continue to get your help. And then they want to get better so they can go back to get a job and support their family. PY: How long do you manage each client? Or is it a short term service? TY: It depends. We have to set up goals and those goals are created depending on how much the client wanted, they’ll set the goal. Some want to go back to work within six months, or some have multiple goals that can make the service longer. Some struggles with good self-esteem and confidence, then it’s longer. But some of them have only one or two goals, for example, one goal is the client wants to get better and then go back to work. The service is shorter. But the one that they have multiple goals, they are a little bit longer. PY: Have you worked with any Asian Pacific clients? TY: Yes, I have. I have multiple Asian Pacific clients; which includes Hmong clients, too. PY: Do you feel like your strategies to help Asian Pacific community is different?

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TY: Yes. PY: Do you have to work differently with them? TY: Yes. PY: Can you share some of your strategies? TY: When working with the Hmong client it is different because with Hmong clients, they tend to stress about getting resources to help with families, support the family. If they don’t get that, they tend to worry about how am I going to pay for the end of month’s rent or mortgage, my bills at the end of months, or how am I going to get food to support my family. These are some of the concerns Hmong Client may have. And then for the Caucasians clients, it’s a little different, it’s more of finding different ways to get them to be motivated, to get interested to do the things they used to do, and then get them back on their feet. Encouragement is for the Caucasian client. But for the Hmong clients, it is more of encouragement, educating them, and then also helping them to learn how to adjust to living in this country. PY: So with clients from the Asian Pacific community, the service provided are financial and more education? TY: Yes, educating them on different ways to adjust and how to live in the US and . . . PY: Resettlement issues? TY: Yes, new settling issue and then learning how to adapt new culture into your culture and accept it instead of fighting and then blaming the new culture. Like saying that this is not their culture so they don’t want it. PY: Can you share a success story of a patient? I mean, you don’t have to disclose their name. TY: Okay. PY: But something that has touched your heart and has made you wants to continue this work. TY: To be able do this job at the end of the day when you, you know, when you’re driving home, back home, like today I feel that I’ve been able to help this client get so much done. I have a client who is a professor at the SMSU [Southwest Minnesota State University]. I struggled with her a little bit. But then at the end of the year, she is thankful for my help. She gets paid well but she cannot manage her money. She spends so much money, she spends on things that she doesn’t need. You cannot even walk into her house because she buys so many things that she does not need. So she just spends all her money and she forgot to pay her bills. So I have to go in to help her to make her realize that there are things she is purchasing that is not what she wanted. And then even though she doesn’t say it, spending money is her way of how she copes with her stress. For her, buying things helps her reduce stress. Her stresses were
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occurring because she was struggling with teaching. Her way of escaping the issue is to buy anything. And she can buy thousand dollars of stuff on her credit card until it max out. PY: How do you feel when your clients accomplish their goals or finish the plan that you and the client put together? How do you feel at the end of it, of the process? TY: I feel good and I’m glad to be able to impact someone, you know. It does feel good to be able to assist them to finish their goals and plans. And help them with, you know, developing their own coping skill and implementing their future plans. So it’s really good. And, you know, I come home without any stress, I don’t bring my stress, you know, from work to home. PY: Can you tell me something that you are grateful for? TY: Ah, I’m grateful that I still have my family together. My brothers, sisters and my parents we’re all still living and no one’s has any health conditions. Everybody is still living and doing well. PY: Can you tell me about your parents? You said that they are in Walnut Grove. What do they do for a living now? TY: Oh, both my dad and my mom, they’re retired, so they don’t do anything else besides just help nurture my sister’s kids. PY: Do they own a home in Walnut Grove? TY: Yes. My parent’s own their home in Walnut Grove. PY: And do you have a house in Marshall? TY: Yes. PY: Do you consider Minnesota your home now? TY: Yes. PY: Can you tell me why? TY: I believe for minorities, it would be a struggle if you move out of Minnesota. Because Minnesota has good education programs here that can help my kids to get a better education. And I feel that Minnesota has done a really good job on the education part. PY: Can you tell me or share a story of someone who has influenced your life? TY: I have so many people that have influenced me, because growing up I didn’t have older brothers, but I had this one cousin, he is a good role model. Now he is a lawyer and he just recently moved to Minnesota. I kid with him sometimes that he’s my older brother and role
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model for me. I really admire the way he handles situations, you know. I learned everything by watching him. And I didn’t have any role models but, you know, besides my brothers to help me out, but he would be the one that helped with everything. PY: Can you tell me about the PGA Semi-pro tour that you were a part of? TY: Yes. I played for the mini tour for two years when I got sponsored through the country club in Marshall. I played the mini tour for two years. PY: Can you tell me that experience? TY: It’s good experience. I got to travel to see different golf courses, and meet with different peoples and different nationalities, all kind of skilled players. You get to travel quite a bit. And it’s really good. PY: Did you ever face any discrimination during this tour? TY: No. they don’t discriminate the color of your skin, or anything like that. Even though they don’t like you, they respect your skill that’s the part that makes the game so fun. PY: Are you still a part of this tour? TY: No, my wife is in school, so I had to pull back to help her with that, her school and then take care of the kids, so I’m off now. PY: Do you still golf? TY: Yes. PY: Just for leisure? TY: Yes, just for leisure and then I play tournaments sometimes, yes. I do not play completely full time like I used to. PY: Have you ever been discriminated in your work or where you live? TY: It’s complicated to explain. I guess sometimes I feel like I don’t get recognized for what I do. But sometimes you feel like, you know, this is it. But then sometimes I feel that there can be worse situations. I have the opportunity to live a happy life and that no one is going to come take what is mine. I have to learn how to adjust to it and live with that, so I cannot really say, no one has ever come straight to me and said I don’t like you because you are Asian or anything like that. I just feel sometimes that I do so much work and how come I don’t get recognize, you know, I don’t get to be recognized for the service I give. So just a little discouraged. PY: Do you practice any traditional or cultural aspects of the Hmong culture?

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TY: No. Pretty much just like little things when it comes to weddings. I do not practice the bigger roles. PY: Would you like to participate in the cultural aspect more? TY: Yes, I would love to when my wife’s done with school. Actually, that’s what I want to do, I want to learn more about Hmong, our culture, and learn how to help other people, particularly the Hmong culture, because that part will never go away. PY: Can you share some of your beliefs on what are the struggles right now in the Hmong community? TY: Oh, in the Hmong community I see that, we are struggle with sickness such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Another concern is broken families due to online dating through technology. PY: So social media has played a factor to broken families in the Hmong community? TY: Yes, it has a huge impact on the Hmong, especially to married couples. I think sometime last week I read news from the Twin Cities regarding the percentage of the Hmong couple that has split in less than ten years. PY: And what factors into that? Is it just social media? TY: Ah, I think that ten, twenty percent of fail marriage happens because of social media. The majority of it is we forget our culture, that when we marry, this is supposed to be a union. We’re supposed to go through, you know, tough situations, tough stuff like that, but we tend to find the easy way out. But some thinks that by being with someone else is going to be easier or that it will get rid of the problem that you’re having right now, we give it up too soon. PY: And you also mentioned that another struggle that you believe the Hmong community is having is health issues. TY: Yes. With health issues, many Hmong members don’t know how to read, the majority like my parents’ age or a little bit younger do not know how to read. The community is struggling because for those that cannot read, they don’t read all the labels from their prescribed medication, or being able to identify what food choices are good for them or not. Many will eat like traditional meals every day and that may not be the best choice because they are not adding nutritional items to their diets. The Hmong community is suffering from high blood pressure and diabetes. Those are two health issues that come to mind right now. PY: So you believe that by changing our diet it would help increase or prolong our health? TY: Yes, I believe that it is important to educate our community to watch our food choices. We do not eat as much salad or greens as much as we used. Hmmm, that might help. And then exercise! I mean, in this country, we don’t get a chance to do that anymore. Everyone, you know,
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you get in the house and you’re sitting on the couch. So we can hardly walk twenty, thirty minutes. We do not have to walk to our destinations no more. We go from point A to point B without leaving outside of our vehicle. The community’s health is at risk because we are not educating them in making healthy choices. PY: Any other struggles that you believe the Hmong community is facing right now? TY: Well, right now we’re facing issues regarding young parents disciplining their children. The school system here in the United State is different from where I went to school as a young child. When I was schooling in Thailand, they taught us how to go back and help your parents. They taught us to be good listener, to be a good person. Here they strictly focus on the education piece, like math, English, science, and other required subjects. They don’t teach you how to come back home and help around the house with chores. They forget the discipline part, that’s the missing part in school, in the US system’s school. It is important to understand where our Hmong children are coming from. When they come home from school, they have expectation from their parents to help with chores such as cooking and tending their younger siblings. But then the flip side to that is that Hmong parents need to allow their child to focus and finish their homework before they can continue on with other activities. We as parents need to spend time with our children to focus on educational matters before allowing them to watch television for four to five hours every evening. Come home from three o’clock and then watch TV until nine, and then they don’t do anything at all. So I don’t want my kids to be like that. My wife and I have set up a lot of strict rules for my kids like come home, finish their homework, they get their supper, and then continue reading during the evening. And then also with their food, my wife’s really good at watching and making sure that they eat nutritional food, make sure they don’t overeat something that they don’t need. I don’t want my kids to be eleven, twelve, and already have a diabetic problems. So when you already have diabetes at a young age, then you’re going to struggle for the rest of your life to do well. I believe that Minnesota has a really good education regarding the school system. And they have many grants available to help students who want to continue high education. And Minnesota . . . you know, we have pretty good legislature that helps out and does work that put a lot of money for educational program. And I believe that that part is really important, and that it doesn’t matter which community it is, it serves all Minnesotan, not just particularly Hmong families. It is important to have young parents understands how beneficial it is to be active in their child’s education and to understand the benefits of these programs. We need to come together, talk to your child’s teachers more often to understand your child’s needs PY: So you believe that parent involvement is very critical to reduce the achievement gap? TY: Yes. By participating in their school system and also meeting with the teachers and counselor will help your child’s future. PY: If you can give your girls one advice right now, what would it be?
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TY: For them to concentrate on their education. And that’s the main goal right now, for their education, because we don’t know how the economy is going to play, so everybody is fighting to be on the top. You know, if you don’t have education in this country, you have less opportunities. It’s not like back in Laos. Back in my homeland, it is easier to work in the farm to earn a living for yourself and support your family. Here, your ideas that you pen down or knowledge you gain from reading a text will bring you income to support your family. So I want my girls to be focused and also be a good person in the community. I want them to contribute in helping the Hmong community sustain culture. I want my girls to understand that the Hmong community is here and that we’re here to stay. We are here to stay in this country, we are not going anywhere. And whether other people or other nationalities like it or not, we’re here to stay. I want them to be good citizens as much as they can be. And to participate in the system. I want them to vote on ideas that matters to them. I want them to have a voice in decision making. I want them to understand how important their vote is. I want them to feel the freedom that they have in this country, which is something that we came here for. We came here to just look for freedom. We came here to look for something that we never had, my parents never had. And I want them to have more than I do. And I want them to understand the system of this country, how they’re run and to participate in governance in this society. So that is what I want my daughters to understand and to focus on. We’re not going anywhere; we’re here to stay, so why not try to be something? It took us a long time to get us where we are now. Now we got what we want, so we need to treasure and appreciate the opportunity that we have right now in this country. And then we also need to help out, too, contribute to the society. We no longer can blame others because we have access to the system. We no longer should be saying, this is not my country and I’m not going to do anything. This is my country now. And this is their country. So they need to contribute to their society and to the country. Even if the economy is doing well or not, we each have equal responsibility to do our part in assuring a stable environment for our children PY: Great. Do you plan on staying in Marshall or would you consider moving up to the city? TY: Marshall is a small town and it’s good for my kids to go to school here. So we’re going to stay here until they finish their high school. So maybe in another ten years. I don’t know where we would go if we were to move, but for now Marshall will be the place to raise my kids and for my family. PY: I’m going to be concluding the interview soon. Is there any final statement that you would like to make? TY: Hmmm, for me I want everyone that gets a chance to read the story to know that our Hmong people actually are not a bad people. We never received any proper education before. We always lived in the mountains and hid in the woods, and so we never got the chance to learn. Now that we have a chance to learn in this country, we want to make the best out of it. So I appreciate everything and every opportunity given to me. I want my kids to do the same thing, to contribute

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and to appreciate the US right now, and that this is my country and I’m not going anywhere. So that’s it. PY: Well, thank you so much. You have been a wonderful narrator. I just wish you and your family the best. And I hope that one day your daughters will be able to hear this story and fulfill your dreams. TY: Thank you.

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