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Title

Eh Ka Pu Moo

Description

Eh Ka Pu Moo was born in Burma in 1999. She moved to Thailand when she was two and went to school in a refugee camp. Her family later resettled in the United States and she is a student at Washington High School in St. Paul, MN.

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0:04:06

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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.

Transcription

Eh Ka Pu Moo Transcription

“The Day I’ve Been Waiting For”

My name is Eh Ka Pu Moo. I went to elementary school when I was 7 years old. I remember my school in a refugee camp was easily broken when the rains and wind came because it was just made of bamboo, leaves, and wood. I was very excited to go to school. I had to walk to school. It took 5 minutes or 10 minutes. Every morning and afternoon we sang the Karen National Anthem which was also the school song. Every day students had to wear a uniform. If we did not wear them, the teacher told us to clean the bathrooms or we got hit. When teachers came into the class we had to stand up, cross our arms, and greet them. Girls and boys had to sit separately and there were 20 students in each classes or less. In school, we had two classes on the other side of the wall of our classroom, and if they were in session, I was able to hear them, so it was hard to focus on my lesson.
One time, my geography teacher gave a homework assignment to read the paragraph about Burma and he told us, tomorrow you have to remember it without looking at the book. Even though I studied, it was a long paragraph, so I couldn’t memorize all of it. Only three students got it right, but the rest of students, and including me, had to kiss the blackboard while the teacher hit our butt. I had one teacher that taught Burmese and when he came to class every student was quiet. His face looked mean and he did not even smile once. One time, he suddenly called me to write a sentence in front of class on the blackboard. I felt afraid because I did not know how to spell some words, and I got them wrong. He should have told me what I got wrong, but he did not tell me. Instead, he hit my palm with a stick. It hurt so bad and itched, but I did not cry. I asked myself: when my parents hit me, why do I cry? But when the teacher hit me why don’t I cry? If I saw our teacher on the street I had to cross my arms and greet them. If I don't greet them, they thought that I did not respect them. We could play with our friends until 6:00pm. After 6:00pm, if the teachers saw us we still with our friends, they would give us punishment. When we went back to school in the morning the students had to assemble, and those students that had a punishment had to go to the front. They had to do whatever the teacher told them. For example, they had to go every classrooms to dance and sing, or got hit or cleaned bathrooms. Some teachers were very nice. They did not hit the students, mostly only the female teachers. Some teachers said that, if your teacher that doesn't hit you or give you punishment they don’t love you, but a teacher that hits you, loves you.
When I heard that my parents applied for America, I was very overjoyed. I thought that I will sit very comfortably at school, and teacher not going to give me a punishment. When I first came to school at America, I feel like I was in trouble because I did not understand any English, and I worried that people would come talk to me. I don't want to see the sunrise because I don't like to go to school. The school in America had computers, the classes are very big, a lot of books, and I got to sit very comfortable. However, my school in camp had no computer, the seats are uncomfortable, sometimes I felt like my butt burning because of the bench. In the U.S. we have to take a quiz every week. I'm scared because I thought that I would not pass into the next grade at the end of the year. Day by day I feel more and more delighted. I meet new friends and are more comfortable with teachers. I love school here more than in Thailand.