Hmong Culture

 

On this week’s Valley Edition: For Syrian and Hmong refugees in the Valley, language barriers can make understanding the pandemic especially difficult. We hear from two language translators who share some of the challenges these communities face.

 

And some small businesses in the Valley are pivoting their business models in reaction to the pandemic. 

Plus, we also talk to a reporter for CalMatters whose investigation into Merced County’s COVID-19 contact tracing efforts has ruffled some feathers. 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

At the Fresno Fairgrounds inside the Industrial Education building, a large photo of Xy Lee holding a guitar hung above a stage. Beneath it, family and friends gathered around an open casket. There were floral arrangements in the shape of a guitar and a huge heart. 

“Right now, they are going to start playing the ritual, the Hmong ritual, to send the spirit back to its original place,” said Yeng Lee, Xy Lee’s uncle. 

Alice Daniel / KVPR

Students at Terronez Middle School joined us for a conversation about the Hmong New Year celebration taking place at their school Friday, Dec. 6 from 5 - 7:30 p.m. The event includes dancing, singing, games and lots of food.

Alice Daniel / KVPR

At the V-Nai Mini Mall in Southeast Fresno, a bland entrance belies the vibrancy inside. The rows of little shops sell traditional Hmong clothing, brightly colored embroidered bags, costume jewelry and hair ornaments. It’s made up mostly of female vendors, a few of them doing detailed work at sewing machines. The rhythmic sound of stitching sometimes accompanies conversations in Hmong. After all, V-Nai is not just a place to buy and sell things, it’s also a place to share, even when the news is at its worst.