Shara Motey was born in Nepal refugee camp in 1995 where she lived for 14 years before resettling in Minnesota. Her parents were born in Bhutan and in 1992 were exiled, they lived 17 years in the camps. She was able to go to school for seven years in the camp. She is now in 10th grade in Minneapolis. She loves going to school in Minnesota, to learn, to interact with people from many different countries and religions. Her parents, and most of her extended family were able to resettle together in Minnesota. Her passion is to practice and perform her traditional dance. This is where she met her best friend, Reunka Humagai. They never met while living in the camps, lived four blocks apart in Minneapolis, and did not get to know one another until they started to dance together for festivals. Her biggest expectation is to go to college, study and live with her friends.
AKB: I’m in South Minneapolis. I’m here to interview Shara Motey for the Bhutanese Oral History Project. Shara if you could introduce yourself: who you are, where you were born, and what camp you lived in, how long you were there, and about your arrival here in Minnesota.
AKB: Where you able to go to school in the camps at all?
SM: Yeah, I went to school for seven years. I learned seven years and then I came here.
AKB: What grade are you in now?
SM: Now I’m in 10th grade.
AKB: So you’ll be graduating in two years?
AKB: What do you think of the schools here?
SM: It’s fun, it’s good time to many different customs, religions, many from different countries. They speak different languages, and that’s fun.
AKB: I’m curious what you think of the winters here in Minnesota.
SM: Winter was so, so hard for us! This was our first in 2010, we came here in summer, than later on we have winter, so first time when we saw the snow, we are happy, we never see before, snow, we are just happy we love to be outside. Later on, we are so scared because of cold—my brothers they didn’t come outside! To buy food, we need to walk and go for shopping, so we didn’t have a car, we need to walk by foot, so it’s so hard!
RM: I’m going to add about the snow. I graduated this year on June 4th, 2012. And when I came in summer time in June 11, 2008, it was summer and everybody say it will snow here. And I was so excited, I can’t wait to see snow for the first time! But the first day is so fun to me and I walk outside in the snow and play. But every time when it start and everyday it is snowing and it is so tired, boring—I hate the snow!
AKB: I agree! Where you and all of your family able to come here to Minnesota? Or are you all spread out?
RM: Yeah. We all came here, except my uncle and my dad’s sister and brother—they live in Nepal. Me, and my family, three brothers, and mom and dad, and grandfather and grandmother we all came same time. But my uncle and my auntie, they live at Nepal. Later on, after six months my uncle came here, but my auntie, my dad’s sister, she didn’t care, she got married so she is not able to come here because her husband’s family problem. Her husband’s mom didn’t want to come here, so yeah. We are here, except her. And we live here together.
AKB: We are starting our second interview with Shara and she’s going to continue and tell her story for us.
SM: Hi, my name is Shara Motey. I was born in Nepal in September 1, 1995. Nepal is the country full of mountains and hills. Various natural beauty such as lakes, rivers, caves, mount Everest, etc lies in this country. This country is located between the two great countries, India and China. My parents were born in Bhutan. Bhutan is one of the happiest places on earth to live. But some people in Bhutan they are not good.
In 1991 my parents and some half of my relatives moved to Nepal because in Bhutan there was no human rights. They prohibited my parents from wearing our own custom clothes and using our own language of Nepali books. Drukpa people who are from Bhutan did not allow Nepalese people to do those things. My parents are needed to wear their traditional clothes all the times. Whenever they weren’t to school or at home the time they needed to wear their customs. If they saw that my parents reading Nepali books, they tore or burned the books. They forced them to cut their hair because in our culture, girls have to have long hair and not to cut. Sometimes Drukpa people used to come to Nepalese house and ask for the property. When the Nepalese said no, we need to eat food and you cannot take our property we don’t want to give you our property. The Drukpa took mans in jail and raped the wives. Some of the people back from jail and some were killed by cutting hands or legs because of such abuse that happened every day to Nepalese people most Bhutanese Nepalese fled because of their problem happened to them. Even they did not want to go.
AKB: If you could tell me how you met Renuka and how you were interested in Nepali dance?
SM: When I came from Nepal, after six months, our culture program, and those programs I showed here dancing. We live like three or four blocks apart, so we just “hi” “hello” to each other, at the time we are not friendly or friends. So I feel like if she can dance, I can do it, she’s just like me, she’s Nepali. I have that kind of interest, that kind of feeling. So one day, in my aunt’s home, she met me and asked me, “Would you like to dance with me? I don’t have any partner.” Yeah, I said, “yes!” I saw her interest so she took me at her home and she said and we had a little conversation about the dance and then we introduce each other, so we became friends and we practiced dance and then we just dance. She came here before three years ago, before I came here. She knows little more than me, she tell me that we need to do festival, there is Asian Festival, they will email me, and they will tell us to dance and I will let you know. We will practice dance and we will dance!
AKB: You’re going to be graduating in two years?
SM: No, three years, I’m freshman. I’m sixteen.
AKB: Would you mind talking about what you’re hopes and dreams are after you graduate and what you’re thinking about for your future?
SM: Well, I’m not sure. I wish I could do nursing. Maybe my mind will be changed.
SM: See, right now, I have hope of that, but I don’t which major I have to take.
AKB: So you’re thinking of college after you graduate?
SM: After I graduate, I will go to college for four years. And then I’ll job.
AKB: Do you want to stay in Minnesota for college?
SM: Actually, I want to go to another state, and I want to study with my friends, living with them. That is one of my dreams!
AKB: Do you have a state in mind yet?
SM: No. But I don’t know if my parents will let me go far, they love me a lot.
AKB: Yeah, that is difficult.
SM: Because you have to do your own thing by yourself.
AKB: Maybe if you’re with your friends, it will be easier to convince them!
AKB: Do you have brothers and sisters?
SM: I have three brothers, no sister.
AKB: Are they all at home?
SM: They are all younger. I’m the oldest.
AKB: So you’re going to be the trail blazer in the family.
AKB: So they’ll all follow you and go to college!
SM: You can live your life anywhere here [in US]!
AKB: And there is going to be more Bhutanese coming to the US. Is this Bhutanese community that have already settled here, are they excited that more are coming here?
SM: Yeah, they are from different camps, we separated into seven different camps. So if we don’t know each other, so we don’t know their habits or something else. So sometimes it’s like to meet them and live near them. We have same language, we have same things. We’ll have same argument.
AKB: I wanted to thank you for doing this. It’s so great to have young voices in the project.