It seems a lifetime ago that these photographs were taken.
Yet, they continue to evoke deep emotions and vivid memories
of a poignant time when life was simple, though full of hardships,
uncertainties, hopes and promises. Among the many images
conjured up by these photographs are those of happy faces amid
abject poverty in the refugee camp. But the harshness of life was
tempered by the promise of a better tomorrow, and
punctuated by the festive parties to celebrate
the departures of friends to another world.
What a time it was!
More than two decades have since passed, but the
intervening years have yet to write a wrinkle on my
memories of the experience at Minors Center. I can
still remember the names and faces of many minors and
residents of the center; the rude wake up calls and the
morning exercise; the occasional breakfast and the hunger
pangs; the sharing of utensils during lunch and dinner;
the weekly distribution and collection of foods, water,
and firewood; the soccer games in the scorching sun; the
torrential rains and the unrelenting heat and humidity;
the daily communal shower and the rationing of water;
the nightly curfew and the occasional sneak-ins. The passage
of time has only deepened my appreciation and gratefulness for
the experience, an experience afforded only the privileged few.
Though our epic journeys to the West and beyond had brought
us together, the hand of destiny had scattered us throughout
the world and transformed each of our lives in different ways.
But we all shared a singular experience. May it continue to
remind us of our struggles to overcome adversities during our
most formative and impressionable years, of how far we've
come, and of the great pleasures in being surrounded by so
many wonderful friends.
I shall cherish always the fond memories of Minors Center
and its people, the fights and the quarrels, the laughter
and the tears, the daily routines and the rhythms of life.
It was the privilege of a lifetime to have had shared with
all of you this uniquely wonderful life experience.
"O, call back yesterday, bid time return" ~ W.S.
Sorry that these photographs were not made
available sooner--life things had gotten in the way.
June 26, 2007