Voices: Burmese Muslims in Cache Valley, Utah: Ka Mar
Ka Mar was born on July 15, 1988, in Burma. When he was four years old, his family was forced to move to a Thailand Refugee Camp, where they lived until he was seventeen.
The day his mom told him they were immigrating to America, Ka Mar says he thought she was crazy. He didn’t think that would ever happen to his family. They left the Thai refugee camp and were assigned to Salt Lake City, Utah to live. Upon arrival, they were given a motel to stay in. No one spoke any English and there were no Burmese language interpreters to assist them in acclimating to their surroundings. Ka Mar’s little brother broke his leg on the first day. The family did not know how to get help. For two days, Ka Mar’s brother suffered until another motel patron helped them call 911. By the time they got to the hospital, the doctor told them that the boy would have been dead if they had waited 30 more minutes. The inability to communicate iin English makes it difficult for refugees to funciton in their new home.
Ka Mar, his wife and daughter live in Logan, Utah. Ka Mar met his wife when he arrived in America, and they have been married for 5 years. Ka Mar speaks four languages; Burmese, Karen, Thai and English, despite the fact that he has never been to school. Ka Mar would love to find time to go to school, but the task of supporting a family keeps him very busy. His dream is to one day own his own grocery store so that he can provide a better life for his family.