Nelson Leader : February 28th 2013
16 THE NELSON LEADER, FEBRUARY 28, 2013 NEWS Refugees embark on journey home Heading back to Burma: The Htain family, from back left, Kyi Win, Mimi, Htay Htay Win, Mwe Mwe, Hay Mann Tun and Khin Khin. Front from left, Kyi Tha, Wasooo, Pan Thera Pee. Photo: PHIL BARNES By PHIL BARNES One of the first Burmese refugee families to settle in Nelson is making a return trip to their homeland after having been forced to live out of the country for the past 25 years. The Htain family, who live on Waimea Rd, said as far as they knew, they were the first Nelson- based Burmese family to attempt to make a return trip to their homeland. Kyi Win and Htay Htay Win Htain, along with four of their seven children and four grand- children, flew to the Thai capital Bangkok last week on what they expected would be the first leg of a four-week return trip to Burma. Kyi Win said they still had to apply for Burmese visas once they got to Bangkok but they were con- fident that with the recent loosen- ing of the military regime's tight control in Burma, they would be granted visas. The family left Burma in 1988 and lived in Thailand for 13 years, at first independently then in a refugee camp from 1996 to 2001. Kyi Win said it was hard for them to get work in Thailand but they managed to earn enough to survive before they moved into the refugee camp. They arrived in Nelson in 2001 and now have seven children, the oldest of whom lives in Canada. He said they didn't know of any- one else who had made the return visit to Burma so they didn't know what to expect in terms of whether the authorities would give them any problems or whether they would be allowed complete freedom to move around and visit family and friends. Dancing to Punjabi beat Learning about new cultures: Dance teacher Aryan Heer teaches traditional Punjabi dancing to children at Brook Street Kindergarten. Photo: PHIL BARNES Children at Brook Street Kinder- garten tested their rhythmic skills with some Punjabi dancing this week. Aryan Heer, who moved to Nel- son from India 12 years ago and teaches traditional Punjabi danc- ing, visited the kindergarten to give children, staff and parents a demonstration and lesson in the dance form. He said the Punjabi dance was very energetic, fast and aggress- ive.During dance competitions judges awarded points depending on how energetic the dancer was and how many steps they took, he said. So when we are dancing we always smile and never let the judges know if we are tired.'' Aryan's wife, Aravinder Kaur, said Punjabi dance was not hard to learn and it was also fun, relax- ing and good exercise. Aravinder, who has two chil- dren, aged three and two, the oldest of whom attends the kin- dergarten, said her children loved to dance at home. The kindergarten's head tea- cher, Barbara Hayes, said holding sessions such as Indian dancing as part of the kindergarten's edu- cational programme helped the children become more aware of other cultures. But it also assisted new migrants because by bringing their former culture to the kindergarten, it helped them to feel part of the community and gave them a good sense of balance, she said. Aryan is starting classes for adults wanting to learn Punjabi dancing in April.
February 21st 2013
March 7th 2013