Find Tek Mishra’s display at the Downtown & Business branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, 612 Smithfield Street.
“The Nepalese started cleansing the people, put us into jail, and forced us to leave the country. I’m maybe ten years old. We left with our parents to United States. But where?”
When I moved from a refugee camp to United States, everything changed. All new environment, whenever I speak, how I celebrate my culture, those things have changed. I’m from Bhutan. The refugee camp was in the southeastern part of Nepal. We were there in 1992, in the beginning days until 2008. After the resettlement program we moved to California.
There was ethnic cleansing in Bhutan because in the southern part, Nepali people live in the northern tip and different people live and rulers are from the different descent. They wanted to make the country one culture with everything same, and do not allow us to wear our clothes, follow our religions. That’s the main problems that it starts with.
Usually, the older folks wear traditional Nepali clothes, but in Bhutan, I used to wear clothes like these I wear today. In the early days when I joined school, my parents say I do not need to wear the clothes that Northern people wear. But it changed around 1989. Nepali’s forced us to wear their clothes. Farmers and everybody, needs to wear the same clothes. The ruler banned the education of Bhutanese. Then they started cleansing the people. Putting us into jail and force us to leave the country and house.
We left with our parents. I’m maybe ten years old, a small kid. I was excited to leave. We found out we would go to California just before we went to board the plane. We know we are moving to United States, but where? We didn’t know that. My parents moved one week before with my brother. We knew where we go after a week, but my parents? They knew they go to the U.S. only the day when they are leaving the refugee camp. Where we are going, what kind of environment we are going, we don’t know anything about it. We blindly moved to the United States hoping for a better life and we got it.