We can only trust in God. When we see our situation now, there is nothing to be happy about.”

One day, about 4 o’clock in the morning, the Chin National Army (CNA) came to our village asking for money from each family. They pointed guns at us, so we collected money and gave it to them. Then, a few hours later the 11 Myanmar army personnel came to our village. They wanted to know why we collected money for the CNA. As the village headman, I had to answer.”

One of the soldiers slapped me so hard I fell unconscious. The other villagers told me that they questioned other people and then left, leaving behind 3 soldiers to bring me back to their camp when I regained consciousness. But soon after, these 3 soldiers left after receiving a radio call. My villagers then took me to a hut in the fields and hid me.”

After this I had to go to court at the nearest town. The police would come to escort me. Later I heard from a friend working at the court that the Government wanted to put me in jail. They called me again to court. Early one morning, I was visiting my neighbour when the police came looking for me. I ran.”

Pu Gaalngam (not his real name) ran away from his village with just the clothes on his back. He never went back to his house or said goodbye to his wife and children. He walked for three days and three nights to another town where he had relatives. He begged for food in the villages he passed through.

At first Gaalngam had no plans to go to Malaysia, but at this town he met some of his people that wanted to go to Malaysia. They told him he could find safety and that he could go to the United Nations office to get registered. Borrowing money from relatives and asking his wife to send some, he managed to raise enough to pay the brokers.

That was 3 years ago. Gaalngam has managed to get registered with the UNCHR, and so decided to bring his family here. His wife raised the money by selling all their livestock – cows, pigs, chickens. With her 5 children, she then took the perilous journey to Malaysia in November of 2006.

They are now living in a jungle camp on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. Gaalngam works odd jobs, filling in for other workers while his wife cooks for the group.

We can only trust in God. When we see our situation now, there is nothing to be happy about.”

Read the story of his wife Pi Naamtal to know why Gaalngam said this.