Thirty Life Lessons

I turned 30. When I was younger, I used to think that 30 was old. Being a teenager or fresh out of high school, I could not fathom being 30. Thirty is old! So old! I'm so old! My life has ended.... (<---sarcasm). I am no sage, but I have learned many things while trekking…

What’s in a Name?

My name is MaiBao. The Hmong RPA spelling of MaiBao is Maiv Npauj. Maiv means "girl," "miss," or "little girl." (Maiv can be used by itself to call someone significantly younger than you. For example, an elderly woman can call a young Hmong woman, "Maiv" without having to use her name). Npauj means "moth." MaiBao or Maiv Npauj is pronounced…

BOF Day of Action: Sacramento, CA

Hello, everyone! I've already posted this on my Facebook Page, but I'll post it here for those who do not have a Facebook account. The Building Our Future Sacramento Team has been working very hard at organizing our upcoming BOF event. If you are in the Sacramento area, I would like to invite you to…

Building Our Future: Champions Against Abusive International Marriages

The first time I heard about abusive international marriages (AIM) was at the Hmong National Development Conference in Fresno, CA in April 2013. Presented by Kabzuag Vaj (Freedom Inc), Nancy Xiong (George Mason University), and Pa Vang (University of Wisconsin), "Abusive International Marriage - Transnational Domestic Violence" was a workshop to present a report about AIM…

“Girls Will Be Happy If They Get Married Crying.”

Warning: Very emotionally tense videos ahead. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=459987150789877&set=vb.100003357884515&type=2&theater This is a video of a group of Black Hmong in Sapa, Vietnam. The young girl is being dragged by men who are practicing what we call zij poj niam---in other words, bride-napping. I first saw this video circulating the social network sites at the end of last year.…

Refugees of War

Before bed one night, I read The Whispering Cloth, by Pegi Deitz Shea, to my children. It is a story about a little Hmong girl, named Mai, who lives with her grandmother in a refugee camp in Thailand. This story takes place after the Vietnam War. Mai learns to embroider her own story cloth while watching…

Sex Talk

How young is too young when it comes to talking about sexuality, puberty, and where babies come from? In my opinion, it is never too early to start. Kids need to be aware and know the facts before their friends start teaching them and before they start puberty (which can be as young as 10…

When in China, eat McDonald’s

Some years ago, I attended a Mary Kay event with a friend. Said friend was in the process of becoming a Mary Kay consultant and took me along as her guest. There was a guest speaker (probably an executive from a different region) who talked about Mary Kay Ash and the history of Mary Kay,…