Friday, November 5, 2010

Burma = :0(

Things have been pretty slow at work this week. We had some people arrive on Monday, then no one is scheduled to arrive until November 17. Since so much of my work involves pre-arrival preparations, things have been slow. Yesterday was a bit boring and tedious, but today was slow, yet enjoyable. The staff meetings are always a good time, because we all get together and talk about stuff. Afterward, I ended up talking to our Karen case workers. I had a few items of business to talk to them about, and then I asked them about the "elections" that are scheduled for Burma on Sunday. I had heard a story on NPR about it that morning. I then listened to about a half hour of explanation about the Burmese government, refugees, refugee camps, Thailand, "elections", Aung San Suu Kyi, her father, ethnic cleansing, Burmese spies, and the like. I love my job because I get this kind of insider information from my coworkers. They like to tell me, and I like to listen.

They were telling me that the military government sends spies to monitor expat populations (Omaha being a GIGANTIC center for refugees from Burma). Community leaders who don't support their home government get their names sent back to Burma, so that if they ever enter the country again, the government will know and deal with them. My coworkers will likely never return to Burma. They're happy to be Americans, though (or at least, when they are able to apply for citizenship). I told them that my family came to America just a few generations ago, and that their grandkids and great-grandkids will be just like me. God bless America.

Also, I learned that the Bhutanese community is starting up their own community organization. The Karen did this and have been extremely successful, though they have thousands more in Omaha than the Bhutanese. My Bhutanese coworker wrote bylaws and filled out the 501(c)3 paperwork all by himself! That's amazing! I am hoping that I will get the opportunity to help them out nonprofit organization-wise...maybe help them get a grant or two.

My job is pretty great. My boyfriend is also pretty great. He made me dinner this afternoon, brought it over and put it in my fridge so I could have it when I got home (he works 5-9pm). It looks delicious.

And Happy Diwali, everyone!

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