Enoch  ·  Myanmar

New Roots Provides Peace with a New Place and a New Farm

Interview by Sommer Mattox
Edited by Heather Oman
Artwork by Lynorah R

My name is Enoch.

I came from Myanmar. My family and I lived in a small village on the mountain. I lived there for 19 years. In my home country we had a farm. We grew a lot of different kinds of vegetables, like corn, potatoes, onions, garlic, and especially beans. In a small village like mine we share everything we grow with our families and friends. So it was really nice to be there.

I have seven members in my family. I have three sisters and two brothers. One of my brothers lives here, but the rest of my family lives in Myanmar. I speak to them sometimes, but often it is very hard, because of the time difference, and everything that is going on there.

When I left my country, I didn’t come directly to the United States. At that time, something bad was going on in my country, and we had to run to other places. I went to Thailand and also Malaysia. I got to Thailand in 2005 and I got to Malaysia in 2009. I came to Kansas City in 2015.

When I think about Kansas, it gives me peace. You know, there’s nothing that is scary. Also, I think Kansas City is really interesting. There are a lot of interesting things to see and a lot of different places to eat. So, I feel happy just to be here, you know, without having to worry about anything else.

We got involved in New Roots when we lived in an apartment. There was a previous owner, like the apartment owner. He has a farm, so he said all refugees can plant anything they want. So the owner introduced us to the organization. I joined it, and now I have been involved for 4 years.

Farming in Kansas City is not like farming in Myanmar. I have learned about seasonal planting, like what plants are good for winter and summer, for each season. I have also learned about how to use machines on the farm. Back in my home country we do everything with our hands. So here it is much easier. I like that. I also learned what plants I should grow that the customers would like or would know about. These are things I never knew in my home country.

On my farm now I grow garlic, onions, ginger, and different kinds of greens. But my favorite plant is Romaine.

I am really proud that my family is safe and happy, and that we have opportunities to do anything we want here. I’m really glad there are organizations that can help refugees like us, and I’m proud to be a part of all of this.

After I graduate, I’m gonna continue on with farming. I want to have my own lands so I can have a bigger plot to grow everything that I need so I can make more money for myself and for my four children too. That’s my plan.

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