It's difficult for most of us to imagine what life is like for Hmong families living in refugee camps in Thailand. But that understanding may hold the key to helping them adjust to their new lives here in Wisconsin. That's why our newspaper partner, the Wausau Daily Herald, is making this long journey.
Keith Uhlig has always been fascinated with the Hmong Culture. So when the Wausau Daily Herald asked him to report on the people living at the Wat Tham Krabok refugee camp in Thailand, he jumped at the chance.
"I've been very fascinated in it all along, and I started pushing for it, probably as soon as we found out," he says.
Starting Friday, June 25, Keith will travel with two other journalists to the camp in Thailand, telling the story of the refugees in words and pictures. Keith says the biggest challenge of this assignment will be communicating with the subjects of those stories.
"I think language is going to be the biggest hurdle. We have translators, but I think that's going to be, still, very difficult to interview people and get to know them. It's going to take time," he says.
The Wausau Daily Herald has already done numerous stories on the Hmong refugees coming to Wisconsin. But Keith says these stories will take an in-depth look into the lives of our new neighbors.
"I'm hoping that people will be able to read and find out who these people are, what their hopes and dreams are. I'm hoping that that will lead to just a better understanding of who they are," he says.
Keith spent the past several weeks learning about the camp's conditions. He says the more we know about the refugees, the easier it will be for us to help them adjust to life here in Wisconsin.
You can follow along on Keith's journey to Thailand by watching NewsChannel 7. Beginning Monday, June 28 at 10, Keith will be sending back photos and calling in daily reports, sharing his experiences at the camp. We'll bring you that coverage through Wednesday, July 7.