Friday, August 21, 2009

Here is an article from Tri Bikram Adhikari who is a refugee journalist who recently resettled in Lexington from Nepal. Tri is orignially from Bhutan and has great insight about political and refugee issues in this region. In this post, he shares about his arrival at Bluegrass Airport. Enjoy!

“You Start Again”

When I landed in Bluegrass Airport of Lexington city of Kentucky state of USA in 3rd of July, I felt that I would be puzzled and lost along with my family in the complete new place. But this thought was removed from my mind when an American guy who was accompanying with me in the same plane assisted me to go in the direction where there was exit (in airport).By this, I came to know that many Americans are helpful and supportive. At the exit, my brother along with Karissha and Mallisha (case workers of Kentucky Refugee Ministries (KRM)) were giving us a warm welcome after noticing the IOM bag carried by us. The caseworkers in the first meeting were too helpful. With their pleasant smile and talks, they drove us to towards our new house.
My new house is completely different from the refugee slum where we stayed for sixteen years in Nepal. There are two bed rooms, sitting room, kitchen and two bathrooms. In particular, we are kept in an apartment where we should pay the rent. There are fifteen apartments in three storey building located in the residential area without any crowd, pollution and disturbances. In Kitchen, we have refrigerator, oven run by electricity and many other household and kitchen used items which we have not got in Nepal. In this context, I remember the bygone days about the refugee hut made up of bamboo, plastic, thatch and mud. It is to point out here that we were hardly served with products and vegetables with more vitamins by the agencies while remaining in the camp. I remember even the moment when we burn the briquette made of coal that used to produce lots of smoke which pollutes the environment and affects the health of the people and also the moment we repair the hut which was difficult and with hard labor. In times of rain and wind, it would be troublesome and difficult to take care of the hut. This all the difficulties are now kicked off as we are in a good house with a fine and suitable environment for housing. Even the vehicles run hither and thither in the streets, there is not much sound and air pollution here.
The main fact of this place it “Time is Money”. Without following time. There will be no penny in the wallet. Public buses are operated in time and follows time. If a bus is left, it will be late for work. Everybody here strictly follows the time. So that, they earn money. Another thing is that every people are conscious of their duties and responsibilities and also equally working for their rights. Everyone is on their own work and there will be a busy time. In this place, when I stepped in the transit centre of the bus named “Lextran”, I find many peoples who have arrived here from different parts of the world. There are African, Asian, European, Mexican, Korean,… people so that I discovered that this place is full of immigrants.
There are only fourteen Bhutanese families resettled here in Lexington city where I am residing. There are refugees from Iraq, Congo, Mexico, and other places also in my place. Peoples are from different refugee slums and are stepping ahead for learning American culture and starting a new life. The main intention of all the refugees is to cope up with this culture very soon. Everybody are asked to go English as a Second Language(ESL) class to improve English by KRM and every Bhutanese adults are going for that. Some Youths who want to learn more English are starting their new class of language in Bluegrass Community and Technical College(BCTC) where there will be one and half hours session for four days in a week. Every Friday, KRM also gives two hours Cultural Orientation classes on the new place for all the refugees for eight weeks after their arrival. Children under 18 have started their new session in the school from August 12. Many of the refugees are jobless due to economic recession in USA. Most of all refugees are searching for the jobs for their better future in USA.

You can read more posts from Tri at his blog "The Unheard Voice."