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Sengchan Thao

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Sengchan Thao was born in Laos. She met her husband, a Hmong American from Minnesota, when he was visiting Laos. They got engaged and she came to the United States in 2007 to marry him.

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0:02:27

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Please contact Immigration History Research Center staff for permissions not covered by this Creative Commons license.

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Sengchan Thao Digital Story Transcription

“My Journey”
My name is Sengchan Thao. I was born and grew up in Laos. My life was very hard living with my family here. My ethnicity is Hmong. I came here in 2007. I came by myself. I came to the United States to get married with my fiancé. I brought two suitcases for myself and my traditional clothing. I left my parents and all my family members over there. My father passed away two years ago. I didn’t see him for the last time, so I have felt very sad. I have lived in St. Paul since I came here. I like to live in St. Paul because there are a lot of Hmong people here and it is easy to go to school. It is easy to find Asian foods.
My mom sewed Hmong clothes for me before I came here. The Hmong traditional clothes are worn for special days like a wedding day and Hmong New Year. The couple in the wedding should wear Hmong clothes for their party. We have a big celebration on Hmong New Year for three days and a lot of Hmong people wearing the same clothes. The Hmong New Year in Laos is different from here and more fun because we celebrate outside and it is not cold.
My mom also gave me one thing that looked like an American quarter but it was two times bigger. In Hmong, we call nyiaj kis laus. The nyiaj kis laus we can use like regular money but it is important because we use it when people have a lot of rashes all over their body. We boil an egg for ready to eat and break it in half and take out the egg yolk, put in the nyiaj kis laus inside the egg. We wrap it with a thin towel and throw it over the person’s body. When finished, you will see the sudden change from white to black. If you do it a few times, the rash will be gone and feel better.
That’s why my life in Laos was different from the United States. All the things my mom gave me are valuable to me. I will keep all the things my mom gave me for my children in the future.