53 pages 1 hour read

Jessica Goudeau

After the Last Border:Two Families and the Story of Refuge in America

Nonfiction | Biography | Adult | Published in 2020

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Trauma and Resilience in the Refugee Experience

In After the Last Border, Goudeau recounts in detail the countless traumatic experiences of both Hasna and Mu Naw. Goudeau refers to the collective effect as “complex trauma” (See: Index of Terms), as the experience of repeated traumas has a more profound effect than any one event. Over a period of years, Hasna and Mu Naw lived in a state of constant stress. Nevertheless, Hasna and Mu Naw exhibited courage and resilience throughout their ordeals.

As a child, Mu Naw was forced to run for her life from soldiers on more than one occasion. Her people, the Karen, were not wanted in Myanmar or Thailand. Mu Naw additionally lived in a home with tension. Her parents fought and her mother, while performing her traditional duties, spoke back to her husband. When her mother left, a traumatic event in and of itself, Mu Naw was later sent to live with a cruel cousin for three years, during which time she endured more trauma. Once back in the large refugee camp with her mother, Mu Naw dealt with the stress of living in crowded conditions.

Landing in Austin as a refugee, Mu Naw had to navigate a whole new world.