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Mu Klu Paw

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Mu Klu Paw was born in the Karen State, Burma, in 1989. Her family was forced to flee their village when she was very young, and she grew up in Thailand, where she attended high school and college. She came to the United States on May 15, 2014.

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Mu Klu Paw Transcription

I’m Mu Klu Paw and I am Karen. My family came to live in St. Paul, Minnesota, eleven months ago in 2014. Before we came to the US, we lived in Burma. We could not live there because of war. I don’t know exactly what happen because I was only a baby. But I heard that if a Burmese soldier came to our village, they killed our Karen people and animals. They did everything without permission. My daddy’s father and older brother were killed by Burmese soldiers. Children who lived in Burma didn’t have the opportunity to go to school because they had to move all the time to save their lives. So, our family could not live in Burma, and we moved to Thailand.
I liked to live in Thailand because we had an opportunity to go to school. It is a poor country but I loved to live there. I had already passed a high school diploma in Thailand and knew a little bit about English because I had studied it in class before. I finished high school when I was eighteen years old. I was very young, so I continued to study at college. I was so happy because I had a chance to go to college. I had to try hard to finish my college for four years. I had to do internship for ten months at Mae Sot. For my internship I had to work with my coordinator and help them for training. I gave training to people who came from Karen villages. I graduated college in 2012.
I really do love to wear my Karen clothes. I brought some Karen clothes with me when I came here. When I lived in Thailand, I wore Karen clothes when I went to the church and on Karen New Year’s Day. When I was a student, I had to wear Karen clothes when I went to school. Monday and Friday, I had to wear white shirt and black skirt. The white shirt and black shirt were student uniforms. Especially on Wednesday, I had to wear my Karen clothes. Karen clothes look very beautiful and nice. We have many different kinds of Karen clothes colors, such as purple, pink, white, yellow, black, red, green, sky blue, and blue. The women weave and knit to create their beautiful shirts. Our teacher said all students had to go to the New Year celebration day. If not, we had to pay five baths to our teacher, 25 cents in the American money. Especially on Karen New Year Day, all Karen people wear their shirts. The men wear a shirt, lungi, and scarf. We have many different kinds of lungi, as red, purple, black, green, and blue. The women wear a shirt, sarong, and scarf. We have many different kinds of sarong, as red, white, yellow, green, black, purple, blue, and sky blue. The young girls who are not married yet wear a long Karen shirt. The Karen women are usually weave to make their clothes. They also knit to make their shirts beautiful. In Thailand, my mom taught me how to weave and knit. It would take four days to make a shirt and a week for sarong. I can weave and knit to create my beautiful Karen clothes all by myself.
Most Karen people wear the Karen shirt when they go to church. I love to sing in the church. Every week on Saturday, I have to go to the youth pastor's house to practice a song for Sunday. In my church, KCFC, all of youth chose me to become a youth singer leader. So, I need to find a song for them every week for Sunday.
Why do I want to be in US? I have many reasons. A brother and a sister were already here so we had to follow them. And I wanted to learn more and study more to improve my English. Everything was new for me when I arrived here. The weather is very different. But I love to live here because we have a chance to do everything we want. Also, my parents are very old and I need to look after them. If they have an appointment to the clinic, they can’t go by themselves. I need to prepare food for them. My brother and sister have no time to look after them because they have a job and have to work hard every day. We all are happy to live in US even if the weather is very cold. Karen shirt and traditional clothing are very special for me because they are my clothes and culture and I love it so much.