Sonam’s Story of Hope

I was born in the rural Himalayas of Bhutan to a Lhotsampa farming family. My wife and I had four children. We loved the earth and our home. We were happy for many years, until 1990.

In the 80s, Bhutanese authorities declared Lhotsampa people as “illegal aliens.” Many fought for our rights, but I kept quiet in fear for my children’s lives. In 1990, violence broke out against the government and they responded with violence against all Lhotshampa. Wives and daughters were pulled from home and abused. Men were jailed and tortured. We fled to a refugee camp in Nepal.

Each day we did not have protection from the sun, wind, or cold. Each day we did not have enough food, clothes, or medicine. I thought my family would die in the camp, but we survived there for 26 years.

In 2016, a miracle—we were welcomed to the U.S. Our four children were adults and we shared one apartment. They got jobs but my health was too poor to work. I became a burden to my family and did not leave the apartment for many years. Some days, I thought it would be better if I was not alive.

Two years ago, my children took me to a church with other Bhutanese. I met a friend who told me about CST. He took me to their office and I met a counselor. She was so kind and helped me find a doctor. I learned I have hypertension and now I take medicine. My wife and I go to CST Collage Club where we learn English. Every Wednesday I go to Meditation Group and each Monday I meet with my counselor. We have friends in the community and leave the apartment almost every day. After 30 years of sorrow, I am happy.

There are many blessings in this new life, and we are grateful. In the new year, I look forward to two joys: I will become a grandfather in June when my son and his wife have twins; I was just approved for the community garden. Finally, I will put my hands back to the earth.

Thank you to CST for making the U.S. our home. You are our family.