St. John's Welcomes Our Karen Family
St. John’s is delighted to welcome the Dah Po family to Omaha. This Karen family comes to us from a refugee camp on the Burmese-Thai border where they have lived since 2006 – victims of the Burmese civil war. They arrived in late February to a welcome from the St. John's Refugee team.
Dah Po and his wife, Hsa Pree are the parents of six gorgeous children: Moo Kpaw Shee, 11; Moo Kpaw Sher, 8; Moo Kpaw Htoo, 7; Si Pae, 5; Hai Si Paw, 3 and Eh Day Gay, 1. Our family was assigned to Omaha because it has a 5,000 member Karen community, many living in the same North Omaha neighborhood as our family.
Dah Po and Hsa Pree said they are grateful to the people of St. John’s, especially Ann Cole, head of our family care group.
Dah Po, who was a rice farmer in Burma, will find a job here. The older children are enrolled at Benson West School.
Our family has has joined a Karen Baptist Church here in Omaha. St. John’s refugee team is working with Lutheran Family Services.
Facts About the Karen People
•Karen people use their full names and do not have family names, married couples do not share the same last name.
•More than 150,000 Karen people are in refugee camps on the Burmese-Thai border, all fleeing attacks on their villages by the Burmese military.
•The Karen people are a matriarchal society who value quiet and introspection.
•Karen people do not shake hands or bow. They consider direct eye contact and loud talk as disrespectful. They make decisions by consensus
•Karen Christians tend to be Baptists.
St. John’s Refugee Team consists of dedicated volunteers who are doing everything they can to help our Karen family. Volunteers are:
-Tutoring them in English
- Helping with job hunting
- Driving the family to appointments
- Having FUN with activities like coloring Easter eggs.
St. John’s parishioners have donated furniture, household items and supplies.
Members of the Refugee Team are: Eileen Wirth and Ann Cole, co-chairs. Members: Cathleen Amdor, Jean Battafarano, Annie Boyle, Pam Font-Gabel, Jim and Joan Howard, Connie Kollasch, Joan Lanahan, Dawn Manker, Karen Krall-Murphy, Kathy McDonald, Mary Ann McDonald, Jane O’Brien, Susan Recker and Maryanne Rouse.
Contribute to Our Family
Cash donations are GREATLY appreciated to assist with rent and repaying airfare.
Place envelopes marked “Refugee fund” in the collection basket or send it to the St. John’s at 2500 California Plz. Omaha, NE 68178. Make checks out to St. John’s and write Refugee Fund on the subject line.
Watch this space and the parish newsletter for news of future fundraisers to benefit our family.