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Amara Baja

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Amara Baja was born in a refugee camp in Thailand. His family was resettled in the United States on August 10, 2010. The family first lived in Twin Falls, ID before relocating to St. Paul, MN.

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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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Amara Baja Transcription

Before my family and I started the journey to America, we had a celebration in Play Baw Lu. Many people assembled at the celebration. My grandmother, my cousins, and my uncle and aunts were also there and helped out. They came and helped out, and late at night everybody said “good night and see you tomorrow” except my grandma. She didn't say anything when she left. I went into the bedroom and was wondering why she left without saying anything. She watched me when I was a baby. She taught me how to be a good boy. She always stayed close me. And now I'm going to America without her. I guess maybe it was too painful to say goodbye. I kept thinking and thinking about her until I fell asleep.

The next day after I woke up in my bedroom. I stepped outside and looked at the sky while my mom packed up her stuff. My cousin also came helped car out our stuff to the stop where the car picked us up. There were a lot of people that came and said goodbye and good luck for our journey. My family and I were not the only family who going to America. There are other families too. They also said goodbye to their relatives. It made me felt delightful because, since I was just a kid, I was happy to see everyone looking so happy for their journey.

When I arrived in Mae Sot I met a lot of new people. They were all planning to go to America. When I went into a camp, it smelled horrible. I didn't like how is smelled. However, the bathroom smelled the worst. I didn't like going to bathroom. When I went to bathroom I covered my nose and my mouth with my hands. The bathroom smelled pungent. It was not like that in the camp I lived in before. Thankfully, we only stayed there for a week.

And when I arrived in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, I looked through the window of a double decker bus and saw a lot of cars and roads. And that was the first time to see a bunch of cars and a lot of roads. I was feeling grateful to see that. Then my family and I arrived at the hotel. A lot of families from the camp came the same day as us. The hotel owners gave keys to all families. Each key had a door number. We slept in the hotel for a night and woke up at 4:00 am. And then everyone separated and keep disappear. We got on an airplane and flied to Hong Kong. I saw a lot of airplanes in that city. I didn't like planes. I didn't enjoy the ride. Then we flew to Los Angeles, California.

When I arrived Los Angeles everything was almost the same as Bangkok except the words and the alphabet on signs. Both have cool cars and roads. And it makes me feel excited again. My family and I stayed in the hotel for a night then we moved to Twin Falls, Idaho. I did have a chance to attend to school. There were not a lot of Karen people, and not a lot of jobs. We lived there for six months, then we moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, and that’s where I am.