Mayta's Story

I was born in Pan Noi, Laos in 1939. As a child, I was always so sick my family worried I would not make it. They also worried that I would never walk. When I was 23, my father passed away, leaving only my mother, two brothers and me. My family moved to Saraburi. There, we worked very hard but still struggled. We worked on the farm, growing corn and rice, and raised chickens and pigs. We didn’t farm to sell; we just grew enough to feed our family.

When I was 27, I married my husband. We were married for 25 years before he passed. When we fled Laos for Thailand, my son was killed. My family then became just me.

Things were much better after I came to Washington state. I didn’t have to work as hard as I did before. Counseling is available and there are things I can do to pass the time. There are many differences between the culture here and in Laos. There are also many different kinds of fruits and vegetables, although the fertilizers and pesticides that may have been used to grow them concern me. It’s not like when we grew our own food, which I knew was good and healthy for us.

I came to Providence Supportive Housing in 2002. I love living on the top floor. I feel safe and don’t worry about anything. I have peace of mind. Being here is like being part of a family. My neighbors care for one another and I know where to go when I need help. It reminds me of Laos. When I see other people’s children, it makes me miss my son.

I speak Hmong, Mien, Laos and English. Every day I work on my paj ntaub. I love playing bingo and growing vegetables in my gardening beds. I like all of the different activities at the house and try to attend all of them. I don’t ever want to leave.