It Begins – BMC Pilot Project with Bhutanese Refugee Community, Portland

Yesterday  (Feb 10th) was the first official day of action on the Building Cultural Bridges video project. Members from the Bhutanese Student group at David Douglas Highschool spent an hour and a half, after school, brainstorming and talking with their teachers Anne and Tyler, their mentor Som and B Media Collective members Nat, Tim and Amanda about the hopes and challenges presented by relocation.

After some exciting warmup exercises and introductions, members of the Bhutanese youth club set about talking about their experiences of coming to America. Many talked about missing their old friends and family in Nepal as well as tasty Dal Bhat. Issues of culture shock, feelings of frustration and uncertainty were a common theme, as were the exciting opportunities of provided in education, work and play. Perhaps one of the more insightful observations about the process of relocation highlighted the fact that in Nepal and Bhutan people know their neighbors and usually look to them as their community where as in the United States, the Bhutanese community is spread over a wide geographic space leaving families feeling isolated and vulnerable.

These were good points to start a dialogue on what a short film made by the Bhutanese community should cover. Today we will be meeting with members of the Bhutanese community in Beaverton to continue the discussion. Hope to see you there!