Arjun Pradhan was born in Bhutan and he and his family were exiled to the camps in the 1990s.
He spent 22 years in darkness, until the hope of resettlement in the United States.
He resettled in Minnesota in 2010 and now has hope for his future with aspirations of higher education, as well as the future of his family and the Bhutanese community.
He is a photo journalist, and a regular contributor to: http://www.bhutannewsservice.com
AKB: Today is March 28, 2012, I’m at 1720 Marion Street, apartment #9, in Roseville, Minnesota. I’m at the home of Arjun Pradhan, whom I am going to be interviewing on the Bhutanese Oral History Project. I’m in his lovely home, with beautiful furniture and the thing I see most is that there are photographs everywhere on the walls and it feels like home here and I really appreciate you having me in your home, and we can talk about what life is like as a Bhutanese here in Minnesota. Why don’t we begin by you telling me a little about yourself and where you were born and how you came here to Minnesota.
AKB: So your uncle that was already here already greeted you at the airport.?
AP: Yes, and my brother, Jeewan Pradhan. And I was so much happy at that moment with 35 other people [Bhutanese] in the airport. The people go a different way, some goes to Newark, some goes to Chicago, some goes to Michigan. And I with my family with my mom and total six members come to Minnesota. First we get help from World Relief, and World Relief just gave us a hand to adjust and to extend and World Relief provided different items and different orientations and different oral histories and everything. World Relief provided volunteers for English as a second language to my mom, and some help to my brother and sister and to me also. And we joined in the Roseville area high school, and my brother, Santosh Pradhan, and my sister, Menuka Pradhan goes in Roseville middle school.
AKB: How old are your sister and brother?
AP: My brother, Santosh is now 16, and my sister is now 12, another brother, Binod Pradhad.
AKB: Was he already here?
AP: No, he came with me. But Jeewan Pradhan is the second brother is already living here with uncles. We get the education and health facilities from the World Relief and Ramsey County.
AKB: Ramsey County?
AP: Ramsey County.
AKB: Let’s talk about your brother who was already here. Has he had any children?
AP: Now, when we arrived here, first we lived in 1740 Marion Street in Roseville, this is our second apartment.
AKB: This is your second apartment?
AP: Second apartment, due to some argument with the manager, he increased the rent. And we need two bedroom because we are a big family, and my brother got married and since big family and together we are in 1720 and now my brother goes in another area. He gets married with his wife and his children, daughter.
AKB: And his daughter was born here?
AP: Yeah, born here. That was the first generation in Minnesota and I’m so happy because new generation are coming here and you guys are doing for the new generation for the oral history project and everything because they know what the Bhutanese and without the culture and without the language when they do some projects in schools and the refugee projects. And my brother gets married with lady, his name is kamal chuwan, she also is a refugee and passed a miserable life what I passed and she passed the miserable life in the eastern part of Nepal Timai Camp and now they have a bright future and it feels like the home environment in their apartment. And they have one daughter and her name is shirya pradhan and she is three months.
AKB: She is a three month old American Bhutanese.
AP: Yes, a new generation.
AKB: Let’s talk about what your current occupation here in Minnesota.
AP: Actually, my mom’s dad is coming from farm occupation. But now, my mom she is going to the ESL class, but she doesn’t get any jobs right now and she has no idea of how to apply to jobs and she’s getting some benefit from Ramsey County.
AKB: So she defiantly needs assistance?
AKB: In helping her try to find jobs here and how that works. Your occupation here?
AP: Actually, occupations of my is that I search a lot of jobs in the beginning in Minnesota. And World Relief helped me to solve a lot of the jobs, but I work here as housekeeping, nothing is certain, and server, I do many jobs, but now I’m working in the Crown Plaza.
AKB: Only temporarily.
AKB: I understand that you are a photo journalist?
AP: Yes, I did through www.bhutanewsservice.com, the volunteers here are doing great jobs to their community to inform the rights and duties, governmental things and women rights of the Bhutanese community and whatever the refugee problems are going in the top levels, low levels because we the young journalist, exiled journalists try to give a correct, balanced. ABC formula, we are doing good things for our community.