Lao & Cambodian communities
need our help!
by Prof. John Hartmann
Wat Thammarattanaram in Broussard, LA where 118+ Lao and Cambodian
Evacuees from New Orleans are seeking refuge from
Over the weeks of September 9-18, 2005, the
Elgin and Rockford Lao communities came together to assemble food and
necessitities to deliver to Louisiana
where a group of 118+ Lao and Cambodian evacuees from Hurrican Katrina
are gathered, living at the temple in Broussard, LA west of Baton Rouge.
Their future is quite uncertain, and they're now most in need of hope,
funds to help in rebuilding their lives. The Cambodian evacuees
there are in particular need of hope as they have not been visited
by any Cambodian
groups from outside of the area. Many of the evacuees are from
of the bowl" at the lowest point in New Orleans, and made their
living as shrimpers. With their boats destroyed and not having the
funds to insure
their shrimp boats, they are not at all certain where the next step
Photos from the trip (posted Sept 19, 2005):
9/19/2005 See Doc H's photos of the trip.
Many more photos to come! Greetings to Doc H's class who forgave his Friday
absence and let
him join us!
9/18/2005 9:00pm: We're back, after an overnight stay near Memphis last
night, and a stop in St. Louis today for lunch. We'd like to thank the
community for your thoughts and prayers for our safe
travel, and for the warm welcome back at Wat Lao Buddha Samaggi in
Elgin! The trip was a fantastic success and all efforts were greatly
appreciated. Photos coming tomorrow!
9/17/2005 8:00pm: The group is on their way back home with many stories
to tell of the brave, warm and wonderful folks they met.
9/16 9:30pm: The group has arrived safely at the temple in Louisiana!
They braved a terrible storm, and a 9 car pileup to get there, (and
overnight near St. Louis to get some sleep) but they made it!
9/15 9:30pm: Gassed up, 2 vans with the gang headed south
on I-55 and on the way to Louisiana! Thank
you to Samane for his generous cash donation that paid for the
2nd van and a substantial portion of the lodging for the overnight
trips down/back, as well as Ms. Thonglouane and Ajan Phone Khoxayo
for their generous personal donations to help w/the trip expenses!
Thanks also to our group
you Elgin Lao Culture Night, for their
donation which covered our fuel expenses for both vans! Thanks Lily
for the delicious lunch!
9/14: See the new
photos of the loading/prep of the vans!! Thank you
to Rockford community for their extremely generous donation to the evacuees as well as their donation to offset the travel expenses! Thank
you to Nadda and Brian of Thai Spice in Aurora IL for their
9/14/2005 11am: We
have secured a low-cost rental van from Enterprise Rent-a-Car
in Elgin that Phet/Todd will cover! Thank
Enterprise for your generous discount! Phet,
Nor S., Vivian O., Kip T, and Dr. H. from NIU are slated
to make the trip, and the caravan leaves Thursday night!
Friday Sept 9, 2005
Hello fellow friends,
Imagine losing everything that you had, everything you'd worked all your life
for. Imagine being displaced from your home and losing everything not once
but TWO times in your lifetime! And the worst part is you don't know what the
future will bring. It took our family and most Lao families in America 10-15
years to save enough money to buy a house! It's heartbreaking to know that
these people are going to have to start all over again. As I'm sitting here
in the comfort of my home typing this email to you I can't help but think about
the less fortunate, survivors of Hurricane Katrina.
Before seeing Lily's email yesterday Todd and I had discussed about how we're
going to help the survivors in general . I was not aware of the Lao,
Cambodian and Vietnamese survivors who are taking a temporary refuge in Wat
in New Iberia, LA. I went online and found a contact then I called and spoke
with the man who's in charge in helping the evacuees. I found out that there
are around 112 people
there currently. More might be heading there in the
near future. About 50% of them are children. Twelve children have been
at a grade school and three university students at a nearby university.
There are several ways to help!
*1. Food Drive *
*at Wat Lao Buddha Samaggi of Elgin:* 50 King Arthur Ct.
Elgin, IL 60120
Drop off schedule: *Saturday, Sept. 10-Wednesday Sept. 14*
9:00AM - 7:00PM or call for after hours drop off.
2. *Boun Khao Salark (offering rite)*
at Wat Lao Buddhasamaggi of Elgin
September 18, 2005, 8:00AM - evening
Donations collected will be sent to help the evacuees at the Wat Thammarattanaram
& the Red Cross
Mr. Em Ramangkoun and the board members of Wat Lao Buddha Samaggi of Elgin
(on King Arthur Court) have voted to send a generous donation $1,000 to Wat
Thammarattanaram in New Iberia, LA today as a start.
3. Another fundraising event hosted by the Lao American Organization
of Elgin and
other organizations in Illinois is in the works. Check www.phet.org in a week
so for details.
4. Nor and friends will be hosting a concert in Elgin, IL
in the near future. Details will be available in the next couple of days
5. *Money:* for those of you who like to take action now or are not in the
Elgin, IL area you can send a check directly to the temple at the address below.
Make your check payable to Wat Thammarattanaram. In the memo write " Evacuees
of Hurricane Katrina." The temple has established an account at a local
bank for the evacuees. I'm sure they'll appreciate every penny to help with
7913 Champa Ave.
New Iberia, Louisiana
Wat: (337) 364-3403 *
*Donations received from activities mentioned above will directly benefit
the Lao, Cambodian and Vietnamese evacuees taking refuge in the Wat Thammarattanaram
in New Iberia, LA.*
If you'd like to donate to the evacuees of Hurricane Katrina in general visit: