In a flash: from Myanmar's jungles to the wilds of urban America
James Robert Fuller's award-winning pictorial essay finds poignant focus on an ethnic household transported from a Thai refugee camp to Buffalo, New York as they adapt and find their place in a land where hard knocks are often more common than opportunity
In late 2006, British photojournalist James Robert Fuller met Ta Ju, a Karen villager living in a refugee camp on the Thai-Myanmar border who was just about to embark on the first step of his family's resettlement to the United States.
Far from elated at the prospect, Ta Ju was in tears. He had just said goodbye to a close friend who decided against applying for resettlement. Then 46, Ta Ju had lived in Tham Hin camp since its formation in 1997 and it had become his home _ along with the friends he had made, two of his children and his grandson were born there. He had built a small but sturdy bamboo house for his family of eight on the grounds of the camp.
His 16-year-old son, Sher Nay Too, eventually convinced his father that leaving Tham Hin gave them the opportunity to achieve "something" beyond the limbo of the camp, Fuller says. "I don't think Sher Nay Too had any great expectations, but he had a clear understanding of what they could expect at the camp, which was more of the same, more of nothing."
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