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    Keeping Toua's powerful stories alive for generations to come

    Day 323

    Preserving History

    In the Hmong tradition, beautiful and elaborate story quilts are created to preserve family history. Toua, who we first met yesterday at the Hmongtown Marketplace, has a family story quilt that is not only beautifully handstitched but also recounts the Hmong exodus as far back as the 1800s.

    His personal journey starts in Laos and Thailand, ending with the arrival of Toua and his family in St. Paul, Minnesota. That’s where another adventure began, as he learned English while already enrolled in a 21 credit-load at a local university.

    A couple of guests that were invited to sit in on his story were recently resettled immigrants from East Africa. One of them, Emmanuel, chose to stand up and say a little bit about himself following Toua’s presentation.

    He said that he was honored to hear Toua’s story, and was inspired to know that he was indeed able to support his family through all his hard work. Emmanuel had just arrived in the U.S. 7 weeks ago (!) and feels that after hearing Toua’s journey, he can accomplish great things too.

    He asked Toua how he felt after seeing his dreams come true. “I feel proud,” he said, “but that the work is not done.”

    We were given a unique opportunity see one person’s living history inspire one of the United States’ newest members, a profound example of why preserving and sharing history is so important.

    So to help keep Toua’s antique story quilt safe for generations to come, we helped him frame it, providing a way to protect and showcase this beautiful work of history and art.

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