The Voices of the Bhutanese in Minnesota

Check out this cool book on our: More Family Stories section on our website!

Rupa's Book Cover

The story is available for download in PDF format.

Please like and share to help spread the word of our Bhutanese neighbors in Minnesota!

Click on the image to read the article on the Twin Cities Daily Planet website

Click on the image to read the article on the Twin Cities Daily Planet website

The story was published by:

Twin Cities Daily Planet




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We are fortunate to have our partnership with the Department of Art at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Tetsuya Yamada, Director of Undergraduate Studies helped us find two talented and dedicated students to take photographs of our participants. We are grateful for the beautiful work of photographers, Lisa Thao and Kristin Havercamp. Their work has added another important dimension to the project!

U of M - Department of Art

Department of Art

RenukaBefore Renuka graduated from

Wellstone International High School (Minneapolis) in 2012,

she contributed to their blog.

Happiness and Money

Can money buy happiness? Happiness is more important than money.  I would like to write about happiness, which makes you live and never want to die.  Another is money, which makes you crazy and blind.  I also want to write about why some people are crazy and do not care about other people.  For those who are poor, why are those people who do not have money, happy and beloved in their life?

Read the full post at on Wellstone International High School Blog

I hear America singing

Mother was making dinner, but she hurries to go a job.
Those of immigrants,
each one singing peace, and being strong.
The mechanics singing,
a poor life fixing electronics,
And watch out for shock current.
The bus driver thinking about driving,
lots of people waiting for the bus,
At the bus stop, stop by stop,
the driver is worrying to get to the bus stop in time.
Hear America singing,
each their own personality their life of work songs.


Renuka Humagai bilingual diamonte poems Nature v2 scan EP0751 Nature system

 Read the second part and view text on Wellstone International High School Blog

January 29, 2013

As Minnesota temperatures drop to their least hospitable levels, many Twin Citizens enter a state of pseudo-hibernation, flitting in bundled isolation between the warm auras of their homes, cars, and offices. That’s why, at this time of year, a community garden is a perfect daydream: a place where we can dig our hands into warm soil, celebrate green and growing things, run into good people, and linger to chat in the sunshine.

Community Garden in MN

Fortunately, though the soil is frozen and the beds are empty, January is also the time when community gardens begin stirring back to life after their short winter rest. Many gardens are already taking signups now or will be soon, according to Jeremiah Ellis, the Executive Director of Gardening Matters, a Twin Cities-based gardening advocacy organization. Gardening Matters has compiled an ever-expanding map of hundreds of gardens across the Metro, and works to connect gardeners with each other, with land and with other critical resources. Their organization also hosts a referral form to help gardeners find the nearest available plots.


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Meet our Participants!

You can read their bio’s, interviews, and see their photographs on our website at !
Find more information under the “Your Stories” tab.

Go To From Exile to Resettlement

Our participants are living records of their time and environment: their exile, refugee life, and resettlement for their future as Minnesotans.These recordings reveal the participants’ intimate knowledge, experience, and personal observations that serve as a divining rod to an unrealized wealth of survival, resilience, and hope.

We thank them for their unfailing support and participation of this project for future generations of Bhutanese Americans.

Click on the images to go to the participant’s page!
In alphabetical order:

Ambika AdhikariRenuka HumagaiRadhika KatelYasodha KhatiwadaShara MoteyArjun PradhanMangala Sharma

By Christopher Burbach

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Lacking English, short on capital and missing such home-country staples as dried radishes, members of one of the newest refugee groups in the United States pooled their money to open a small grocery store in Omaha that caters to their needs.

View Source Article

More than 60 refugee families from the Asian kingdom of Bhutan invested money to start Druk Groceries, 822 N. 40th St. In the store recently are, from left, Janga Biswa, Lalita Biswa and Laxmi Maya Gurung.

More than 60 refugee families from the Asian kingdom of Bhutan invested money to start Druk Groceries, 822 N. 40th St. in midtown Omaha. They formed a limited cooperative association, an unusual type of business arrangement in Nebraska, but one that also is being considered by a handful of small towns who are losing their grocery stores.

At the Bhutanese grocery store, in a former office building one block from St. Cecilia Cathedral, managers aim primarily to serve the 900 to 1,000 people in the local Bhutanese refugee community with foodstuffs they’re used to from back home. The shelves are stacked with bulk rice; hard, dried, canned and pickled chili peppers; dal (lentils and other legumes); curry powder and dried tamarind; free spinach and big boxes of Cheerios. The store also carries such traditional American staples as milk, eggs and baking soda, and hopes to attract a broader clientele from within the store’s midtown Omaha neighborhood.

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Check Out Our New Website

We are happy to announce the launch of our new website:

From Exile to Resettlement (New Website)

CAPI, a Minnesota based organization dedicated to refugees and immigrants interviewed one of their staff members, Krishna Hummagai on June 24, 2010. It was originally published in their Bi-annual Report. With permission, we are re-publishing his story. Krishna’s daughter, Renuka, is one of our oral history participants.

Interview on June 24, 2010 
Interviewers – Rachel Wofford with Michelia Pham
Translator     – Simran Aryal


Krishna Humagai

Krishna Humagai was born to a family of farmers in the Sarpang region of Southern Bhutan.  He began what would become a life of labor at a young age, working on his family’s farm from the time he was a child.  Though Krishna never attended school, he always had dreams: he hoped one day to provide stability for his own family and to own land that he could farm.

Krishna’s parents divorced when he was young, and he and his brother went to live with their father.  In subsequent years Krishna would suffer repeated abuse at the hands of his father and stepmother.  At seventeen, Krishna married Nar Maya, his wife, and together they left home to start a family. In his new town, Krishna continued working as a farmer and opened several retail stores.

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From Exile to Resettlement is excited to introduce CAPI, a local non-profit organization that is a community supporter of this project.



CAPI’s Vision
All refugees and immigrants lead successful lives and exercise fully their civic rights and responsibilities.

CAPI’s Mission
To guide refugees and immigrants in the journey toward self-determination and social equality.



CAPI, founded in 1982, is a community-based direct human service implementer of anti-poverty programs. CAPI strives to help refugees and immigrants gain access to jobs, housing, food, health education, and youth and senior social services to promote economic independence and self-determination to 3,000 African and Asian refugees and immigrants, annually. Over 95% of our participants are living at or twice below the federally designated poverty level. While historically known as a social service agency, CAPI has transformed and integrated a social change agenda into its core programs to make lasting impacts in its community. In this new strategic direction our primary constituents—refugees and immigrants—guide us to deliver societal change while we fight poverty and health disparities in our community. CAPI’s mission is to guide refugees and immigrants on their journey toward self-determination and social equality.

Visit CAPI website