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When we think of our suitcases to travel we are await stories of adventures, curious walks to the unknown, prosperity, socioeconomic stability, and simply getting a breath of fresh air.

For HMoob parents, it was freedom from persecution, an act created from discrimination, fear treading into the unknown, and simply surviving. Suitcases were not filled to the brim with outfits and shows. The trunks and suitcases were artifacts for articles, labels that linked their life to native countries. It was a bridge.

Jenny Moua, Ka Moua Lo, Honey Moua

“With very little sleep, and no food she forged forward. Gunshots were fired left and right, dead bodies laid in their path, and countless land mines were planted everywhere. Blindly leading her small children, my mom kept on fighting. 26 days later, she brought my siblings and herself to safety as well as reuniting with my dad again. We hear very little about the women who experienced and lived this horrible war. The men may have fought in the war but the women were also heroes.”     

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By Nom Mas Yaj, 1993

A handwritten letter about Nom Mas’s journey to Thailand. The letter was written as a keepsake of the memories he experienced as a child sajourning through the jungles from Laos to Thailand with his family.

“Kuv xav kom lawv tau taub thiab lawv paub hais tias peb lub neej ua ib tug tawg rog nyog tsis tau yus teb yus chaw es yus khiav los no yog vim li cas. Thiab kev txom nyem ntawm ib tug neeg tawg rog nyob rau hauv Thaib teb no ho nyob li cas.” 

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