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Fusion Story-telling

May 28, 2011

“I feel like you have so many talents and interests—perhaps they will all fuse someday soon,” a friend from my cohort wrote on a note card she gave me yesterday.

“People have told me that many times before,” I thought, still feeling divided in multiple directions.

That same evening at her birthday gathering, I had talked with one of this classmate’s friends, an Asian American.

“So you recently graduated?” she asked me.

“Yes.”

“What do you want to do now?”

Every time someone asks me that question I feel as if I give a different response. This is why I should never be a politician. However, my replies are based less on securing favors than they are on conveying my most recent ideas and inspirations such as creating social enterprises for refugees in the US, extending social enterprises with friends in Bangladesh, preventing and countering human trafficking, Bible translation, storytelling through writing, drama, documentary production, and social media.

Last night I emphasized storytelling. Earlier, while blending salsa for the party, I had been pondering the production of a documentary or drama about the plight of the indigenous people I had lived among in rural Bangladesh. I shared my ambition with this new acquaintance.  Then she recounted her family’s story.

“My parents were refugees from Laos,” she began. She told of how her grandfather had fought for Americans in the Vietnam conflict. Her parents had to flee as a result of the allegiance. Her mother was a teenager at the time and was not informed that they were leaving the country when she was told to pack for a trip to the city. They first relocated to a refugee camp in Thailand. While there, her teenage mother was nearly trafficked into the sex trade, but a taxi driver warned her of the men’s intent. After two years, they relocated to the US. Relatives from the camp dispersed to France, Australia, and other parts of the globe.

Reflecting on her story, I realized how her mother’s story represented a fusion of my varied interests: refugees, at-risk women, preventing human trafficking, story-telling. I recognized that global problems are less fragmented than I generally realized. Human trafficking exists in places such as refugee camps in Thailand due to disruptions caused by wars and conflicts. Refugees struggle either in camps or in reconstructing life in a foreign country due to the havoc created in their homelands. Often passionate people who address social causes such as war devastation and refugees and human trafficking and poverty, fail to realize how interconnected each is to the other. Storytelling through the lens of those who have experienced the horrors help us recognize this.

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