A Christian refugee immigrates to the United States for freedom
Merry Ruat, 21, is a refugee from Myanmar or Burma and came to the United States with her younger brother in 2009 when she was 15 years old through the United Nations. She lived in a foster family through the Refugee and Immigrant Services from the Lutheran Community Services with her younger brother. According to Ruat, there are a lot of ethnicities in Myanmar and she is from an ethnicity called, Chin which is a small and only Christian group in Myanmar. However the government of Myanmar does not favor in Christianity but Buddhism. Christians have less freedom and they will be dead if they fight against the government. Therefore, they tried to flee to other countries.
Ruat and her brother had been living with her aunt and other relatives after her parents divorced due to family violence when she was young. Her aunt had relatives in the United States and they heard about the United Nations. Therefore, they flee to Malaysia where the United Nations was because they did not have United Nations in Burma. Since her aunt is not their parent, it would be faster and easier for them to come to the United States separately. After about a year and a half staying in Malaysia, the United Nations finally helped Ruat and her brother to immigrate to the United States. However, Ruat thought that she was not going to stay in the same foster family with her brother due to the miscommunication between the United Nations and the Lutheran Community Services.
“I don’t know that country. I don’t know where I am going. I don’t know anybody. I don’t know anything about that country. Now the only person that is blood-related to me, we are going to get separated. So I was very nervous about that.” says Ruat.
Ruat recalls her first day in the United States and she was surprised by the differences between the United States and Burma. She did not speak English before immigrating to the United States and it took her about six months to communication in English with her foster family. Ruat has been living in the United States for six years. She is planning to join the Coast Guard because she likes adventures and she is preparing for a test in order to apply and join the Coast Guard.
We got on the plane. We flew here. And we got here in Washington, Seattle. And we got off of the plane. And then, we saw this very very white and tall woman. And another another white woman. And then there was you know a white guy with a big smile on his face. And they had a little sign that said ‘Welcome Merry and David’. I remember driving from the airport, I was thinking like “Wow! This car is really nice.” Cuz they they were driving Mercedes you know. So I was like “Wow! This is a nice car!” So but I I also remember you know being very very tired. So we drove to the house. And I remember seeing the house, you know, “Wow! This is a nice house! It’s a pretty big, you know, really nice house.” And we went inside the house. And I remember just looking everywhere, you know, cuz I I have never lived in a place like that, you know, in my whole entire life. And then there was the dog. We thought she was so big. But she was still a puppy. But we were like “Wow! That’s a big dog!” And, we were very tired. So my foster mum showed us where my room is, where my brother’s room is. I was like “What?! We have our own room?” Cuz you know in my own country, you don’t get that. You just sleep on the floor whatever in the living room. And I was, it was very new to me. And it, and at the same time, it also seemed everything I was always wanted. So, it was a mixed emotion. I was happy but at the same time, I also missed my country a lot.