Maung Ei’s Life Story
In 1990 Maung Ei [Mong Ee] fled from Burma. Since he was child there was the presence of a military camp near his village. He didn’t realize, as a child, the danger to him. Slowly he became aware of how dangerous it was to be a young male in Burma. When he was around 15-16 years old he began being forced to be a laborer for the Burmese junta military. In the Karen village there was a Burmese military checkpoint, they would regular select villagers to be night time guards. They had no choice they had to serve for the night.
Sometimes the military swept through the village seeking to conscript young men into the junta army. He didn’t want to join the military because of how they behaved and how they acted toward his fellow Burmese citizens. At a moments notice he would have to hide from the military and was always watching over his shoulder for danger. From his childhood he had known no peace in his village.
So Maung Ei left Burma because of arbitrary military forced labor, requirements to be a porter without pay and the danger of conscription. He decided to flee to Thailand. This was before he was married.
He lived near the border in Thailand, then in 1991 he went into a refugee camp call Kom Mo Leh Khu. He spent 16 years in refugee camps. Maung Ei met his wife Yu Maw, who was already there, and they had their children Zu Zu and Yee Yee Htay in the camp. The Kom Mo Leh Khu camp was burned by the Burmese military, who had crossed the border to attack them. There were 600-700 people in the camp at that time. Some were injured, lost limbs and some were forcibly returned to Burma. So they had to relocate to the Mae Lah camp. The family spent the rest of their time at Mae Lah refugee camp. By the time they left there were as many as 17,000 Burmese refugees in that camp.
Last year they were finally given refugee status to come to the US. Thailand said they c ouldn’t care for all the Burmese any more and appealed for help. The United States and other countries opened their doors to welcome this besieged people. Maung Ei’s family arrived Dec. 12, 2007. When they first got here there was no heat in their apartment and they had to stay with Pastor Inthava for a couple of nights. As a result the family has formed a deep bond with the Inthasane’s and call them “father” and “mother”.
Today Maung Ei works on the production line making cabinets at Marsh Furniture. He and his family faithfully attends our First Wesleyan Church of High Point. Our church has allowed the Lao congregation to rent a bus to pick up this family along with thirty-five other Burmese who do not yet have transportation. Maung Ei’s son Zu Zu, and daughter Yee Yee Htay are doing very well with their English. Yee Yee Htay really love her Sunday school teacher, Carolyn Winslow.
The extended family of Yu Maw, Maung Ei’s wife arrived in America during 2008. They live near by and include Ka Hten (father) [Ka Tawn], Bye Bye (brother), Tin Oo (brother) and Thah Haung (brother) [They Naw]. All of the men now have steady full time jobs.