When ideas come to life.

For those of you who don't know, my blog absence can [sort of] be attributed to a new project that myself and a few other brave souls have decided to undertake. We've decided to create the biggest fuss possible about how Burma is a total crap-shoot country right now and needs to change; also, we've decided that we want to tell the stories of a few of the 6,000 Burmese refugees living in Indianapolis. So, it’s been a pretty wild past few months with INDYrefugee (said project). Everything from interviews and trips to Malaysia to seeing the faces of Biak and Suiming (our Indianapolis friends that came to the states 6 months ago after spending more than 3 years as refugees in Malaysia) after giving them gifts from their family (from Malaysia), to administration, to planning a refugee night at the Harrison Center [Dec 2, you should come]. It’s been busy to say the least. But the best part, by far, has been seeing the ideas for telling the stories of Burmese refugees come to life. Seeing the response of the local Burmese community here in Indy that has been overwhelmingly gracious – they are so happy that a small group of artists have decided that everyone in Indy needs to know about what’s happening in Burma and gain a deeper understanding of the lives of Burmese refugees – that has been the most rewarding part of this journey. Anyway, without further ado, here is a favorite image from the project thus far. There are many more to come, but check this lady out. She will be premiering on Dec 2 at the Harrison Center event in all her cuteness.

(photo by Katie, stellar illustration by Joel Rockey)

Her name is Ciang Kok Dob and she is one of the most adorable people ever. I met her at the community centre in Kuala Lumpur. We had waved and said hi in passing quite a lot, but one day I decided that I needed to hang out with her.

As Sang Bawi (one of our translators) and I climbed over rails and the 2 foot wide gap to get to our her building from ours – she laughed at how crazy we were. I was wearing a skirt and had cameras strapped on my back – it was definitely against my better judgement to think I was Tarzan. Next time, we decided, we would take the stairs, go around the building, go back up the stairs, and properly get to the other side of the 6th floor where she lived.

Anyway, as I began talking with her, I quickly realized that she was one of the sassiest women I’d met in Malaysia. I started asking her about her childhood and school, that’s when she told me about beating up boys and getting in trouble for talking. Then, I began to wonder if we were the same person… Anyway, we she allowed me to photograph her and we laughed and laughed. My favorite part was that she wanted to be photographed holding her Bible. Seriously, what a precious lady.