Hi my name is Bun and I am from Cambodia. I am 15 years old and I have four siblings and I’m the oldest. My dad was a business man and my mom was a house wife. When I was about six years old, my mom and my dad were separated. So I went to live with my mom for a few years. After that, I and my siblings went to live with my dad and my abusive step mom. She beat us every day. It was sad for us. So one day I decided to leave them and come back to live with my own mom. My brother and sisters stay with my dad. My mom was not as rich as them but she could work and support me. As I got older, I had a dream of coming to USA. The dream came from when I watched American movies and heard people talking about how great the country was. I heard people say that America is a very organized country and it has cities full of lights everywhere. I wanted to live in the snow. I am here in the U.S.A now but I’m not living in the snow. Here is the story of how I got to America.

The reason we came here to the USA was because a woman who was rich and with high ranking in Cambodia wanted to kill my mom and my aunt's family. It all started when this woman came to my cousin and said "I just want to be your sister and nothing else." She said that because my cousin was famous and very attractive. My cousin became famous but stayed poor. This woman convinced my cousin that she would help her. My cousin said, "Yes you can be my sister." The woman bought her and her family a lot of stuff including a house and a car. Until one day [something happened] and my cousin wanted to get away from her. So, this woman began to treat my cousin badly. She buried her dog alive. She wouldn't let her out of the house. She warned my cousin that if she left her, her whole family would be dead. So my cousin continued to live with her until one day she couldn't stand it and decided to run away from the house.

The woman came to my mom with her body guard and asked my mom, "Where is your niece?" mom said she didn't know where she was. So, my mom was really afraid that the woman was going to kill her right there as she had a gun pointed at her. As this method didn't work, she tried to call my other aunt. The woman told my aunt about how she felt, about how my cousin ran away from her and about how she was going to kill somebody in the family if they knew where my cousin was and they didn't tell her right now! My aunt was recording the phone call. There was a recording sound and the woman noticed it. She told my aunt that you can record this and give it to the news reporter but there will be a sea full of blood. After a few days, she demanded that her body guard pour acid on my aunt. My aunt was in a very bad condition and later she died. The story was in the news. The woman was not arrested because she disappeared. However, someone in Cambodia with a lot of money can get away with anything. So we were still afraid of what she could do. As a result, we had to leave our country because if we had stayed in Cambodia, we all would be dead.

An international organization heard about our story and decided to help us. They sent us to Malaysia. We lived in Malaysia for five years while waiting to go to the USA which we believed to be a very safe place for us to live. When I first arrived in Malaysia, I had a lot of challenges as I did not speak any English at all. So, I went to a refugee school where all refugees from different countries came together to study English. I learned a lot of English there as I tried to speak with a lot of people in English. After five years, the moment we have been waiting for came. The organization called us and said, ‘’Congratulations! Here is your flight date to America.’’ We were really excited.

On June 13th, 2014 we landed in the USA at Los Angeles. Then we took the flight to Oakland California. The American organization found us a house to live in. And a few weeks later I went to my first school, a summer school in Oakland. I make a lot of friends because I can communicate with them easily in English and it is not as hard as the first school I went to in Malaysia. My English keeps getting better. This school is good for people who are new to this country like me. I'm looking forward to graduating from high school and going to college. I want to have a career as a software developer. For nine months now I've been living here with mom and my sister, our life keeps getting better.

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AuthorRefugee Transitions