Meet homebuyer, Mai Lor Vang: she and her four children have begun building their Dream Home in Menasha!
When I arrived in the United States in 1993 with my first child, Tsee Vang, I did not know the land; I did not know its people; and I had no idea what the American dream was. What I did know was that America was a brand new door to a different path—a path that would be much better than what I had left behind.
I came to America from a once war-torn land. Being a refugee of the Post Vietnam War era in Thailand, I had no home to call my own, as my family and I were sent from one refugee camp to another. My family and I had been forced away from our homes when the Red Army of Laos overtook our villages in Laos. I lost relatives and my father during these times.
When my son and I came to America we still had no home to call our own. After living with relatives for six short months in Visalia, California, my son and I moved once again, to Appleton, Wisconsin and still we had no home to call our own. My son and I soon moved into an apartment of our own after living with relatives in Appleton; however, this still was not OUR home. I also struggled to find and maintain work with my limited knowledge of the English language at this time. Having little to no education and being barely able to support myself and my growing family, I began to see the dream of owning my own home as a long and distant possibility. Although my family and I have lived in homes, we have never truly been able to call a home our own. We have not had the luxury to walk freely onto freshly cut grass and call it our backyard.
It has been 23 years since my small family first came to the United States, and although our family has grown, I now have two sons: Tsee Vang and Yeng Zong Vang, and two daughters: Ka Blia Vang and Pa Dee Vang, we have yet to own a home. That is until now. Habitat for Humanity has now placed another door in front of me and my family. It is a door which I have waited and struggled for 23 years to find, and now it is a reality. Now I can live a dream that was once too far to reach. The dream of having a place to truly call your own. The dream of having a back yard where my children and grandchildren can claim as theirs. My American dream.