HOF080: Khamong and Keota Phommarinh

Keota Phommarinh is from Khammouane province in Laos. She is a member of a close family who shared love, happiness and sadness. She remembers growing up in a wealthy family environment.
Khamkong Phommarinh was also born in the province of Khammouane. Unlike Keota, he grew up in the village of Thakhek in Laos. At the age of eight, Khamkong decided to leave his family to continue his studies outside the village. He therefore lived with a new family during his primary school studies. He never returned to his hometown. It was later that he studied at the “École Supérieure de Pédagogie” in Ventiane where he met his future wife.
When the Communist regime in Vietnam took control of the government, Khamkong and Keota felt fear and unease. One evening, the couple decided to leave with their children overnight, abandoning their home and all their belongings. They then left the country, wishing to escape from the communist regime.
They were at the Mekong River a few steps from new hope, but fear continued to haunt them. They eventually arrived in Thailand’s Nakhon Phanom province and settled in for the night. The next day, the village guards apprehended the family. Before they were brought to the police station, one of Khamkong’s former students recognized him and helped the family find refuge. After being approved by the authorities, the family headed to a refugee camp in Ubon Ratchathani province in Thailand.
The Phommarinh family did not stay in the camp for long as their asylum application was accepted by officials from Immigration Canada. Khamkong and Keota finally found happiness and freedom.