Tar Nar – Thailand

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Photo by Maria Kalaitzandonakes

Listen to Tar Nar (10th Grade) tell his story.

*Some grammatical/spelling edits have been made to allow better understanding.

I was born in Thailand’s refugee camp. My birthday is January 1st 1995. I have three brothers and two sisters. I lived in Thailand refugee camps, sheltered by the United Nations. I didn’t have money or food. I went to school. I didn’t have umbrella. I didn’t have the shoes. I went to school it was raining. I looked broken-hearted. I touch water. Burma and Thailand is not free country.

My parents came to Thailand when Burma soldiers abolished the Karen people. My people always afraid. Karen people have many abroad. Burma soldiers are against Karen people. Burma is much abuse. In 2001 I went to Thailand school for two years, to 2002.

I have many problems. 2001 is typhoon destroyed my house. I sit on the map, I look like tyhoon is horrible. I hear typhoon, thunderous. It smells wrong. Touch is many water. After I went to my friends’s house. In 2003 I came back to a Karen school. In 2008 I went to Burma country for one month. I came back in the Thailand refugee camp in 2011. May there is a typhoon gaina, but everybody don’t have problems, sheltered by the United Nations. 2012 January 17th is I come to America. I am a student. I went to school. My school’s name is Hickman High School. Every morning I go to Rock Bridge High School. At 11 o’clock I came to Hickman.

Reporting by Maria Kalaitzandonakes

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About the author

Maria Kalaitzandonakes

“See zos chickens?” her old Greek grandfather would say pointing to the pigeons, “all of zos are yours.” Growing up, all little girls think they’re princesses. But Maria’s kingdom never had a prince, never a castle. She reigned over her “chickens” and olive trees. Yup, it was all Greek to her. Rules in this kingdom were strict. Only A’s in school. No sleepovers. No painting the walls. In pre-school the teachers had her hearing tested three times, thinking that her piercingly loud voice must come from some sort of deafness. Maria, herself, never realized her life was odd until grade school, when the very American idea of “personal bubble space” puzzled her. And when physically unable to abide by the “arm’s length apart rule” Maria’s teacher gave her a hula hoop, which she had to walk around with as to not disrupt anyone’s personal space. When a little boy bothered her in middle school, Maria’s hot temper (Greek Blood as Maria’s father called it), got the best of her, and she yelled out a curse “gammoto!” and punched him in the face. In high school she embraced the crooked nose, the Christmas boat and the five gallon olive oil tin in her pantry. When Maria’s grandfather first saw a squirrel he said, “See zos fings” pointing to the unknown animal, “Do not be afraid of zem. You are a Greek, baby.” And with that, she had confidence in her future, as a non-squirrel fearing Greek princess. Maria is also the editor in chief for "The Rock" and "Southpaw". You can contact me at [email protected]

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