Help my dad finally go home

This is my dad

He loves horses, rock music, playing his guitar, motorcycles, planting flowers and jasmine tea.

Here he is on the left with his brothers and parents back at home in Champassak, Laos. Many of you probably don't know, but back in the 60s and 70s there was a long 'secret war'  by the U.S. held there to deal with several Viet forces vying for control of the land.

'From 1964 to 1973, the U.S. dropped more than two million tons of ordnance on Laos during 580,000 bombing missions—equal to a planeload of bombs every 8 minutes, 24-hours a day, for 9 years – making Laos the most heavily bombed country per capita in history.' 

You can probably read more on it if you choose through google. Suffice to say, my dad has seen a lot of things. Things he still cant talk about. You see, Thailand was no longer taking refugees, so he and my family had to travel through hostile territory in the mountains to get out. A lot of them and his friends didnt make it. They moved to the states in the 70s to start a new life.

44 years later, he hasnt been home since. He hasnt seen his relatives, his friends, no one in that time. And thats not from a lack of trying or working - on the contrary, he is the absolute hardest working person I have ever known. As soon as he got here he's worked long hours, barely a vacation ever taken or any time off. Not for Holidays, nothing (they wouldnt let him anyway though, they had a history of saying no - even when my sister was giving birth!). Years of loyalty didnt mean much when the economy went bad, and he was laid off immediately.

My dad hasnt been able to find anything since. Life is hard in that way for an immigrant - he is educated, but nothing transferred over when he moved so in paperwork, it looks like he never even finished highschool. Pit that against young 20somethings and you get a good idea as to why.

All the years of backbreaking manual labor and practical sweatshop practices (actually my gradmother literally worked in a sweatshop), he never once complained. Not a single time. He worked with a smile, was always very grateful, and made sure we were provided for and educated here properly. In fact I'm the first in the family to graduate from college, in part thanks to him and his efforts.

Even out of work, he's done lots of odd jobs to make ends meet. Back when I was still living at home, he was paid to put up a fence around the home we were renting. It was absolutely raining cats and dogs, was miserably cold, and thunderstorming out. I wanted hm to come inside but he refused, and kept working. He finished the entire thing in a few hours, came inside shivering with a big dopey smile and was pleased as punch. He was so happy to give me something as simple as that - it wasnt because of the money. It was because it was for me.

But he's still living in poverty, despite all the effort and hard work he has put into everything.

Since I was 8 I made it my goal to one day do well enough to send my dad back home to visit. I am nown 27 and I had big plans this year to do just that. I got a new job, my life started stabalizing, and I finally told him last christmas 'Hey dad! I'm funding your trip back home for you brothers wedding'. It was literally the first time I've ever heard him get so excited - my dad is normally a very chill, mellow kind of guy.

Then life happened, as it likes to often do.

You can imagine how devestated I am that I can no longer do this. The money I had set aside is no more, and there was little I could do to prevent this. His brothers wedding is in December, and I am left with the heartbreaking realization I will have to tell him he still wont be able to go back home.

I've picked up freelance work on top of my full time job to try and help fund this, but there are only so many hours in the day and only so much I can do by myself.

I realize this isnt a -dire- situation, and I was very very reluctant to even reach out for something like this. I know it might not seem like much of a reason to other people, but to me, its one of the most important things I can try to do. He deserves at least this much..

So here I am. My dad is no super hero or in a desperate situation. But he is -my- hero, and I want him to finally rest knowing he can at least see home one more time.

Even if you cant help monetarily, a share would be great. Anything at all will help - and I also dont want to get anything without being able to give something too! So for every donation of $20 or more, I will consider it as a pre-order for mine  and my husbands art book coming out this year (as long as you make note that you want it)! We're both artists and animators, and its the least I can do.

Where is the money going? This is to pay solely for his plane ticket, and does not cover the cost of extra expenses (food, etc.). If by some chance I exceed this goal, it will go straight to him to help with the misc. travel costs!

Thank you all so, so much. Lets help my dad finally go back home!

  • Apu Nahasapeemapetilon 
    • $70 
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  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 79 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $20 
    • 79 mos
  • Anthony Moltisanti 
    • $10 
    • 80 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 80 mos
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Stephanie Mae Rattanachane-Betancourt 
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