Amarillo, TX - A growing refugee population hopes to find safety and opportunities as they start new lives in the Panhandle. At Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport, we met up with a family originally from the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, also known as Burma. The family has a similar story to the nearly 850 refugees who are settling in our area, just this year.
"The Burmese military destroyed our village, we ran away and finally ended up in a refugee camp. " said Shem Mar, a refugee who has lived in the area for nearly two years.
Shem Mar and her family watched the gate for the arrival of her son Ah Din, his wife Him Da Ma and their two children. The family has been split for three years as they all traveled from Thailand's Mae La Refugee Camp to start their lives over in the Panhandle. The reunion is a day this mother, grandmother and sister has waited to see for nearly 30 years.
"I was so glad the moment my son arrived in the United States. Now we are in one country, now we are a family again. " Shem Mar tells NewsChannel 10.
The newly arrived family will live in an apartment that's been secured and set up for the next several months by Refugee Services of Amarillo. 26-year-old Ah Din was born in Mae La, he's never lived outside of a tent city.
"Most of the stuff I see is unusual. The couches, the sofas, the decorations, I have never seen this before in my life." Din tells NewsChannel 10
However, the things he looks at as strange, now belong to his family. While the family exchanged gifts and spent time together for the first time in years. They tell NewsChannel 10 what they hope for in their future in the Panhandle.
"We worked hard. Now our family is together, we want to get our education for all our grandsons and nieces." said Shem Mar.
"For my son. For my daughter. For an education. For a better future, that's why we came to the United States"