Damber

I was born in Bhutan where my family ran an agricultural farm which supported our entire family. We grew our own crops such as rice, corn and soybeans, and cared for many animals - chickens, cows and sheep. Any produce that we did not use for ourselves we sold in the area to buy necessities that we could not make for ourselves, like soap and cooking things. We grew lots and sold it well.

In 1991 my family was forced from Bhutan and came to a refugee camp in Jhapa, Nepal. However, we couldn’t stay at the camp and so chose to open up a shop in Jhapa itself. We ran our shop for three years. It was a cross between a café and a bar where we sold tea, drinks and momos.

After those three years I moved to Kathmandu with my children, two sons and two daughters. I opened a mini-food store where I sold produce and my own hand spun wool. I also worked for a time in a bag factory making different types of bags. After that, I was a tailor at a local shop.
While we were in Kathmandu, one of my daughters got married.

When my children finished their studies, I stopped working for some time and helped care for my family. By 2013, one of my daughters had entered New Zealand as part of one of the refugee quota. She helped me apply for my visa and move to New Zealand as it is hard to grow old in Nepal. My other daughter and one son are currently still in Nepal, and my other son is in Canada so I do not see them often.

I started working at Momo Said last year and I love the people I have met through it and the work I get to do. I really want to see our team grow and do more together, become a bigger part of New Zealand.

Now that I am in New Zealand I have been working hard to learn English, and my reading and writing skills are improving as I study. I enjoy the local classes as many of the other Momo Said workers are there too; however, it is sometimes hard as our teacher only speaks English. But this is good for my practice. I really value my study and want to learn more.

I still miss farming and being out of the city so I still do a lot of gardening, growing my own vegetables. I also love to knit and crochet as I can give these to my friends and my family.

Translated by Joy K.