Back in 1988 the protests had been going for two weeks, the “crackdown” that killed thousands of civilians was in full swing. But now in 2008, for many the story is different. Resettled after years in a refugee camp, forbidden to work, they try to make a new life in a new world. Here is how a US Nursing site summarises Htee Shee Paw’s financial struggle:
He is about to become a first-time father. His wife, Htee Shee Paw, is due in mid-February. She does not work. It is an auspicious time for Ler Bweh and Htee Shee Paw, but a precarious one, too. Working for $7.75 an hour, Ler Bweh makes $310 weekly, of which he takes home
$229.34. Of that, he must pay $550 a month in rent, $96 for transportation and an electric bill that hovers around $100. That typically leaves him with little more than $170 a month. He receives $298 a month in food stamps. Afflicted with malaria at a young age, Ler Bweh continues to battle fever and malaise. When he is sick, he cannot work and his pay reflects that.