I have been fortunate enough to have met people from various countries and different walks of life. Most of them have been decent folks but there have been a few oddballs. Maybe that is what they think about me. Anyway, let’s take a look at some people moving to another country.
Nui is from Lao. She met her Thai husband at a construction job site 11 years ago. They now have a son and live in a village close to us. Nui earns B300 or $6 a day working for D&G Resort doing yard work and gardening. This is minimum wage in Thailand but many employers pay foreign workers much less. Every three months she has to save B2500 or $75 for immigration fees and a bus trip home to Burma and back in order to stay in Thailand. Difficult to do. She will never have a chance to visit America.
Aye was from Burma. He is dead now. He died in his early 30s from tuberculosis while incarcerated in a Burmese prison. Originally, Aye had entered into Thailand illegally looking for work but soon realized he was receiving slave wages on a fishing boat. Eventually, Aye escaped to Bangkok to look for better work and living conditions. When I met him, he was a roommate of a friend of mine.
One month Aye decided to sneak back to Burma to visit his parents. He was caught by the Burmese police for leaving Burma without the proper paperwork and thrown into prison where he died many months later. One of his goals had been to visit America.
It was a sunny afternoon when we spotted a fishing crew of Burmese men and women on a beach in Thailand sorting the day’s catch. We stopped to have a chat. Most were hesitant to talk as they were likely illegal workers in Thailand. Their spoken Thai was poor and English was nonexistent. If they complained about the long work hours or pay, they stood a good chance of going overboard. Literally.
One the border of northern Thailand and Burma is a small Shan village. One father explained his predicament. The Shan people had lived in Burma for generations, but were now being driven out. The Burmese Army would burn and raze the villages forcing people to flee and live in makeshift camps along the border.
This father had been in this border village for the last ten years. He can’t go back home and he can’t enter Thailand legally. He and his family are stuck and trying to make do. However, most of the young people will eventually search for work in Thailand typically underneath the table. The men find jobs in construction or fishing and the women often end up working in restaurants, factories or in the sex industry.
Living conditions within the village is basic. Water is brought down from the mountains, they share one electrical line and the school has a bomb shelter.
Someone is always Looking
One of my forefathers came to America from England as an indentured slave. It took him four years to pay off the debt.
Edmond Bowman did what he had to do, in order to feed his family.
No different than any of the other immigrants I have met in my life.
Everyone deserves a chance...