Hmong man, early 60s
Arrived in the U.S. in the 90s and worked as a machine operator
Lives with family of 14 people
English is his second language
There is a large community of Hmong residents that have come to Hayfork in the last decade. Some are marijuana farmers.
How did you come to Hayfork to farm?
We came here, we had different people, we had different history to be coming. Because we came here (because we were involved in the Vietnam War). We had one group from Vietnam War. That time the whole world come to drop the chemical, like drop Orange Agent (Agent Orange). So our people join with the Vietnam War for 15 years. French, American, Russia, Italy, Chinese, all them come to drop Agent Orange in the Laos country. All people in there they got Agent Orange. So we came. So the democracy party (fought against the) communist party.
[…] The Thai missile crashes, and makes yellow color and orange color comes out. You’re breathing it, and it get in your body. Then (the) people feeling bad. The people no strong enough by the body. After 50-60 years old always get the stroke or cancer by the body.
The time we come here–to United States–a lot people still get like Agent Orange by the body. We come to see doctors, so doctors can help. So we will find medicine. So people try to come make a garden marijuana here, so making people feeling ok by the body. I feel in the bone not healthy. I (have been) here (in Hayfork) for almost a year now. Most of the (people here) are the older generation. Most of the younger generation here is coming to help the older generation in the garden. Because they are older they cannot work in the garden, so they really need the younger generation to come here to help them.
What do you want to see happen with farming in the future?
(We want) to see law and rule by government policy that they will approve for anyone to take care of themselves in The Pines (a subdivision of Hayfork) here. And no policeman come to harass people here. A lot people be so scared here a lot. We come here and don’t know exactly the rules, and people very scared about the problem here. It hard for people to understand. (We would) like to see–city council, mayor–like the minority government to be discussing with them how the people know how to spend their life here for The Pines. Right now, I would like to see them. I know we have lot property and lot people here. We want to be discuss and understand each other. […] The government need help from us, and we need help from them. We have to be living (with) each other not (as) different people. We are American people and the future of The Pines here–can be a village or city if the people are feeling better. We will be helping each other. Right now we come here, so no one can come to meet each other. Like government side or people side. No one knows who each other are. It (is) very hard to be meeting. So we need to join each other side-by-side so we learn (from) each other.
That is why we want to connect the local people and government in Hayfork. We want to work with them so we will know each other better. More opportunity to discuss the issues that we have. We really want the rules, the law, because a lot of Pines people don’t know about the law, not going to school. Cannot read, cannot write. They say, ‘We come to do garden.’ They don’t know anything.