REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK | Bhutanese refugees come to Minnesota


From Exile to Resettlement Project‘s mission is “to collect the untold stories of Bhutanese refugees who have resettled in Minnesota in order to give them a platform, as well as highlight the enormous contributions they make to Minnesota.” My mission: meet some of the refugees and participants in the project and share their stories with TC Daily Planet readers. 

February 7 – Posted on Facebook:

I’m writing a story about the oral history of Bhutanese refugees living in MN for the Twin Cities Daily Planet. Let me know if you have anything to add, or if you might know someone who does! 

February 9 – Chatted with Mangala Sharma. Mangala Sharma and her immediate family were the first Bhutanese immigrants to arrive in Minnesota. Although she spoke English fluently and was able to find jobs more easily, she still struggled with loneliness and isolation—an issue she says is particularly hard for all refugees to cope with.

“I think the other difficulty is being isolated—not being able to mix up with mainstream Americans,” she says.

About the project: “Most oral histories that are captured for museums and historical societies that I have worked on over the years are archived away, and little is done outside of that,” says project director Andrea Klein Bergman. “Our participants’ stories are now on our website. You can see their pictures and family photographs, hear their voices, and get a snapshot of what it was like living in the camps and what it is like for newcomers to arrive here.”

February 10 – Laid out the basic body of the text, but realized I had a couple factual holes. Fact-checking with Sharma tomorrow

Reporting for this article supported in part by Bush Foundation.