Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Daw Gay and Saw Meh

A few weeks ago, we had two new weavers who came to our weekly Monday meeting. Daw Gay is a single mother with two teenage boys. Saw Meh is her 81-year-old mother (pictured above). Both of the women are weavers. We don't know much yet about their back story. One of the things I can tell you on meeting them is that Saw Meh is strong and sassy. She's not afraid to say what she thinks, a quality that is often rare among our weavers, and is especially amazing considering all that her family has been through.

These two weigh heavily on my heart. With no breadwinner in the family, I'm not sure how they're going to make it. Thankfully, they've been supported since the beginning by a fabulous Presbyterian church in Austin who has committed to being deeply involved in their lives; they're the ones that connected them to us in the first place. But still, I wonder, with very little possibility for employment, what will happen to them in a few months when their refugee support fund runs out. I do know that, when we handed them a loom two weeks ago, Saw Meh's eyes lit up and she was almost giddy for a moment. I can only imagine how nice it is to see something familiar in a strange land.

A few weeks ago, Daw Gay and Saw Meh took a bus to go to an ESL class. They took the wrong number bus on their way home and passed the night wandering around Austin. Daw Gay can write her name, painfully, but I'm not sure how literate they are. They didn't have a phone with them, nor their address to ask for directions. They ended up spending the night tucked under a bridge in Austin, two small Karen women alone in an unknown city.

The next morning, they were reunited with their worried sons because of some amazing people in the Karen community. They now have a phone and friends watching out for them. There is no one to blame--these kinds of things just happen. But I cannot help feeling like somehow, this should not be.


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