Burmese refugee escapes to United States

March 9, 2013

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Lucky.

That’s how Ni Par Moses feels to be living in Hood County.

At this time seven years ago, she was making a long journey with a small group of mostly women and children from Chin State, Burma (also called Myanmar) to Malaysia. She walked for a month, from Feb. 25 to March 25, 2005, to escape the violence in her home country.

“We are lucky we made it,” she said in an interview last week.

The government has not been kind to the mostly Christian residents of Chin State, Ni said.

“The Burma military would come in to the villages, burn down the churches and kill the pastors,” Ni’s husband, Daniel Moses, explained.

At times, the villagers were basically slaves to the militants. “They told us to do things for them. And if we didn’t, they would hurt you,” Ni said.

Villagers raised livestock and farmed in the mountainous area once home to Ni. Farm animals and crops were often taken from the villagers by the military, she said.

After leaving Burma, Ni was in Malaysia for over a year, working to get the paperwork filed for a United Nations card.

At one point, Ni said a group of refugees were on a train in Thailand.

“At the train station the police took us to a big room, not really a jail. More like a holding room. For two nights we slept on the floor. We were thirsty with nothing to drink.”

Ni recalled an especially scary time when a group of refugees were staying at a house in Malaysia.

“Sometimes the police would come and check the houses in the middle of the night,” she said. During one of these unannounced patrols, Ni and a friend hid in a bedroom. A newborn baby and its mother were staying in the bedroom.

“One of the policemen tried to search the bedroom. But another policeman said, ‘You can’t go in there. There’s a newborn baby in there.’

“He saved us. He knew we were in there, and he didn’t want us to get caught,” Ni said.

In June 2007, Ni arrived in Los Angeles with one bag and a refugee card. Next stop, Texas.

She settled in the Metroplex area of Lewisville with her brother’s family.

“There are a large number of refugees in Lewisville,” Daniel explained. “They have a support system there and get a lot of help from the churches.”

Ni attended high school for two years in Lewisville, and began to learn English, while living with her brother’s family and helping care for the children.

After becoming more familiar with her new country, she started working at Walmart in Frisco. That’s where she met Daniel – her future husband.

After getting married May 28, 2011, the couple moved to Granbury, where Daniel has family.

Ni gets emotional when she thinks about her family. Her brother was the first in her family to leave, and has spent 15 years helping others get out of the country.

“He helps everyone,” she said. “We are so thankful for him and what he has done.”

Sadly, Ni said, her parents are still in Burma.

“My life has changed so much,” said Ni, now 23 years old. “I am so appreciative to be here. We are safe here.”

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