Where Y'all Really From

Culture shock doesn’t even begin to describe the immigration experience of this week’s guest, Ie Meh. Ie was born in a Karenni refugee camp in Thailand, and lived there until her family moved to Bowling Green when she was 12. She’s 23 now.

Because she and her family weren’t citizens of Thailand, they weren’t allowed to leave the camp where they lived. “We don’t have any sense of belonging,” she says. Her dad filled out paperwork to move to the United States, and they ended up in Bowling Green, but the transition was tough.

“We never ride a car, never in our life,” she says. But they had to take a bus to the airport, and then, of course, a plane. “All of my family threw up,” she remembers.

They also had misgivings about their new home.

“There was a rumor that Kentucky is not good place to live. A lot of people said that the community here are not open minded people,” she says. “But we love it. We love Kentucky. We love Bowling Green.”

In this episode, Ie tells Charlene Buckles her incredible story, and why she wants to go back to the refugee camp–after she finishes med school. “I’m hoping I can make a difference,” she says. “I love my people. I don’t want my culture, or any other, to be erased.”

Listen to the episode:

Note: this episode contains descriptions of violence in the context of a military coup, around the 9-minute mark until the 11-minute mark.


Learn more about the show and subscribe for free at whereyallreallyfrom.org.


“Where Y’all Really From” is part of the Louisville Public Media Podcast Incubator. We get support from the Community Foundation of Louisville, Podchaser, Rankings.io and the Eye Care Institute’s Butchertown Clinical Trials.

 

Laura is LPM's Director of Podcasts & Special Projects.