February 11, 2007

Announcement: Going Home Where We Belong

Going Home Where We Belong*

A group of young Karens and Karenni currently studying in the United States plan to take a trip back home this summer of 2007. The purpose is to share, to learn, to live and to understand, to be back in touch with the realities of our homeland.

The idea of Going Home Where We Belong comes from those who have been away from a place considered home for various reasons. Many of us are students – both undergraduate and graduate. We have been in different parts of the United States, mainly to go to school, and thus far, only a few of us have had a chance to go back home. Some of us have been in the U.S for much more than ten years and some, two years or less. Nevertheless, we all share a common feeling about home – we belong there and we miss to be there. So was born the idea of going home.

As we began to formulate this idea, we felt compelled that we would not go home empty-handed. Of course we do not mean this in the materialistic sense. There is absolutely no doubt in our mind that our peoples and families back home love to have us back and will welcome us in any shape or form. However, there is an obligation on our part, for which there is no contractual agreement to be found, that we serve as an agent of change for those who are still caught under the bleakest situation ourcountry is faced with. This obligation comes from no organization, no individual, and no authority of any kind. In fact, this obligation comes from our very status as free-men and -women who have the privilege of aspiring to, and for some of us, achieving, our dreams in life.

On the other hand, we certainly do not want to foster the view that our peoples back home are always in need and expecting hand-outs. We certainly do not want to go home as those who are coming to save them from a hellish situation, for we are neither donors with tons of money nor are we mythical beings with power to redeem. On the contrary, we believe that we have yet so much to learn from the situation on the ground, most certainly from the people who constantly live under extremely difficult and uncompromising conditions, and from those who have so clearly demonstrated the limitless courage and endurance that are necessary in order to survive and even hold onto their dreams for the future.

Furthermore, we are of the opinion that we could learn by teaching, and vice versa, teach by learning. Many of us have been trained in different fields of expertise, and many of us do have certain areas of interest in which we could share our knowledge. Therefore, we have decided that this first trip back home will be based on three main goals: to educate ourselves with the situation on the ground so that we could prepare for better services in the future; to share our knowledge with those who certainly would be interested; and to build a stronger bond between us despite the geographic disparities. Ultimately, we expect that a trip as such will humble us in many ways, will enable us to appreciate education more, and will strengthen our commitment to the betterment of our peoples’ future.

If you would like to join with us on a trip back home, please contact:

Neineh Plo at: everploe@yahoo.com for more information.

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