Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Karen Girls

If you've been around me for any length of time, you've probably heard my mention the Karen Girls. Karen is pronounced ka-Ren. Here's a little background on the Karen people taken from

The Karen people are an ethnic group in Southeast Asia enduring an ethnic cleansing program in eastern Burma. The result is between 500,000 to 1 million Karen people living in hiding within Burma. In addition, a series of nine refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border house some 155,000 mostly Karen refugees. Thousands more live in refugee-like situations in Thailand and Burma, and millions of other Burmese from a variety of ethnic groups seek refuge and a way to make a living in surrounding countries.

Basically, the Burmese army (the 3rd largest in the world (they don't have any external enemies)) drives the Karen people out of their villages and into Thailand. The Thai people don't want the Karen people to be in Thailand because the Burmese army will place land-mines in Thailand and around the border to prevent the Karen people from coming back. 
Hundreds of thousands of Karen refugees are forced into tiny camps on the Thai-Burma border. 
In 2005 (I think) Condalisa Rice opened up a bunch of refugee status visas for the Karen people. Since then more than 500 Karen people have settled in the Akron area. We came into contact with them through Urban Vision, a local ministry located in North Hill. 
My family has gotten to know and love many of these Karen people. We have about 8 girls over about once a week.

These girls are amazing. It's been crazy to watch them grow over the past two years. Literally GROW. One of the girls just turned 10. She was 8 when I met her and she was TINY! Here's a picture of each of the girls that comes over

This is Ehne Thau (10) and Hannah (my sister) (Ehne Thau looks a little funny in this picture! haha)

This is Youslena (15)

Eh Dah Doe is a HAM! She's a goof. I love her. (12)

Hser Ler Moo (14)

Ma Rian (12)

Be Bin (10)

I don't have any good pictures of Eh Ler Tha (18) or Eh Dah Po(10). But I'll probably put some up sometime!

These are the Karen girls. I love them like they're my sisters. They're beautiful and extremely smart. They work hard and are so sweet. I love them...

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