A Journey to Happiness This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

September 12, 2013
Life after war is never good, especially a life of a little girl from Laos. It is around 1983 in the village of Laos, where the people were sound asleep. You can hear the cricket chirping, an owl hooting in the distance, and the moonlight glistening on the top of river. A father’s dream for his family safety and to build a happy life, takes extreme measure. He moves quickly through the darkness grabbed his two daughters and swing the little one on his back and held the other one’s hand. He quickly made his way down the steps, into the wood behind the hut. He met up with fellow friends who are waiting for him in the wood. His friend carried his other daughter on his back, and took off by foot. There are dangers larking in these woods. Every step they made must be extremely careful. There are land mines that were left behind from Vietnam War that buried underneath the ground. One wrong move, they could lose their legs or lives. The girls were quiet; they were told not to cry or made any noise. The mosquito were eating them alive, but they cannot slow down. They have to beat the morning light and get across the Mekong River to their destination. They all moving through the night swiftly and carefully with every step, but no matter how careful they were, his fellow friend who carried one of his daughter felt through a trap, luckily it was not too deep and they were okay. They finally arrived at the Mekong River’s bank. There was a fishing boat waiting for them by the river bank. The father paid the man with the money he has saved. Getting across this river could be a disaster, if the boat sank or flipped over; they could all drown and swift away by the current. It was a sign of released when they saw the other side of the river bank. The father worried about his wife and the baby, who was waiting for his return. He has left them there at the refugee camp, while he and his friend returned back to Laos for his two daughters.

His wife and a baby were waiting for his arrival with their daughters safe and sound. She held the baby tight against her chest, while she paced back and forth near by the river bank. She looks through the darkness and saw a light on the boat, and hoping that is the boat bringing her family. The boat finally reached the bank, and men and two little girls climbed out of the boat. The mother wiped her tear and with a smile on her face, and she moved toward them. The two girls were so happy to see their mother. They made their way back to the refugee camp in the middle of the forest of Thailand. They settle in a small hut. The hut was made of bamboo floor and grass roof. The mother lights the lantern and feed them some rice and little fish soup she has made early that night. The girls were too tired and disturbed from the trip; they decided to curl up together and slept till day light.

Another life adventure in refugee camp for a little girl, will this place be any safer than her homeland? The camp is isolated from the rest of the town. She is surrounded with hills, trees, and creeks. She is a small girl with a short black hair that cut to frame her heart shape face. She worn an old thin tee shirt and slong, and worn out flip flop. There is no school to go to, she just wonders into the wood in search of food. She swam in the creek and looking for frogs, fishes, and beetles. With all these, she will feed her family. At age of seven, she has to carry responsibilities for the family. Every day there was nothing to do, besides going down to the creek by the hut. She was told not to go too far from the hut because of dangers out in the forest. She played along the creek and sat under a big fig tree and looks up at those big branches and leaves; her thought wonder, if she will ever be free from this entire lonely and scary world. She has a dream one day, her family and she will be in a happy and safe place.

In the middle of the night, gun fire flies through the hut, scared the whole village. The girl can hear the people screaming and scrambles in the darkness. She asked her mother,” Where is father?” her father was out patrolling the camp ground when gun fire rang through the village. He rushed up the steps to the hut and said we have to go and hide out. He grabbed his daughter hands and her mother grabs the baby, and tucks him tight against her chest. The mother moves quickly behind her husband. They went down the hillside, through the creek and into the opposite side of the wood. They hid inside the underground hideout. The girl was scared and cupped her ears from the sound of mosquito buzzing nearby. They hate spiders, centipedes, and the unknown in the dark. They hind there till day light and they knew it is safe to go back to the village. The young girl was wondered how long her family will have to go through these dangers, before they will get to that happy place.

The family has to move to a different refugee camp. This camp is more in the city limit of Thailand; the camp is surrounded by barbwires and with police men stand on guard at all times. Her family was place in one room apartment. This camp was better than the other one; the family was given food and water. The girls were able to go to school. The young girl works after school at the camp’s head boss’ house. She does laundry, wash dashes, scrubbing floor, and babysat. She works hard every day, earning a little bit of money for her family. Every month they post families’ name that will be interview to go to America. She looks forward for that list every month, hoping to see her father name up there on that list. She never gives up hope that one day, it will be their turn. She never has the chance to be a kid, she had to take care of her young sibling and house chores. These loneliness and isolation are not fit for anyone, especially for being as young as she is.

It is 1987, when her hope and dream is finally come true. She looks up and down that list for her father name, and finally her little finger stops on her father’s name. Her little heart thumps faster and skips a beat with excitement. She ran as fast as her little legs could carry her, she ran straight to their apartment to find her father about to start a fire on a wooden stove. She was jumping up and down, while she told her father that they will be going to that happy place in America. Her father face lights up with joy and this is the beginning of their journey to happiness.

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