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Chairuth (Chai) Bouphaphanh
Child's Perspective and Introduced to New Food

Time 0:02:02


CB: Yeah, yeah my parents said, “This is going to be our new home.” But they don’t know anything and I don’t know—it’s like we’re going to unknown. Like they said, “This is going to be our new home.” And that’s it. We don’t know what it is. Who’s going to be there to pick you up, like no idea. Or if somebody going to pick you up. (laughs) So, yeah.

IN: I mean were you—I mean how did you feel—it was your first time getting on an airplane.

CB: Yeah.

IN: What did you think? What did you feel?

CB: Oh, it was amazing. You know, like, Wow you’re flying. I think when all this thing happen when you’re a kid it’s different than, I think than parents. Parents are more—the adults have different feelings and emotion than kids. To us it’s still vacation. This is getting better and better (laughs), you know, like we on a plane now, we’re going somewhere unknown; it’s exciting. And, yeah, we didn’t know what to expect. I think that’s why first time we landed in Edmonton—at night-time too—like it was amazing. Even though it’s cold I find it fascinating that, so this is going to be our new home. But have no idea what’s to come and where are we going. So those things we don’t know. So we—And then we spend two days in Edmonton and then we flew to Saskatoon.

IN: Right, Right. Sorry, to go back to the flight again—I’m just wondering, do you remember the types of food that was served on the airplane? Or—

CB: First time I have little box of Cheerio, like Cornflakes, or something. I thought that was neat. It’s like candy. You know I never had—because where we came from we ate rice and we ate French baguettes so this was first time I eat apple. Yeah, it was fun; I love everything; that’s why I think us three boy adapt instantly to Canada—so first time I have cheese I thought it was dessert. You know—cheese—yellow thing, but yeah we acquired a taste, instantly, into Canada life the first day we landed, so.

Chairuth (Chai) Bouphaphanh was born in Vientiane, Laos in 1967. Chai and his family were among the hundreds of thousands of people who left Laos after the country came under communist control in 1975. Chai and his parents and brothers fled to Nong Khai, Thailand in 1978, where they lived in a refugee camp for two years. In 1980, the family was sponsored by the Mennonite Central Committee to immigrate to Drake, Saskatchewan.

Members of the Drake Mennonite Church supported Chai and his family as they settled into the community. With help from members of the church, the Bouphaphanhs found a home, work and learned English. Chai says that the support of the church and growing up in a small town allowed his family to quickly adjust to life in Canada.

Chai currently lives in Regina, Saskatchewan and works as a product photographer for Drake Meats. He is also an avid freelance photographer. One of Chai’s photographs was chosen by National Geographic to be in their library of stock photos.

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