Name: Tabo Bo
Occupation: Delivery Driver for Parkway Drugs (part-time) and Site Tutor for Young Scholars LPP (part-time)
What are your top 3 interests?: Mix Martial Arts (MMA)
Poetry and other creative arts
Producing and Partaking in Nomadic Voices
Tell us about yourself! Who are you?: I was born in a Thai refugee camp in the midst of a civil war in Burma, currently known as Myanmar. My family is from the Karen (Kuh-ren) ethnic group. I spent my early years living in a bamboo house behind barbed wire fences in the middle of the jungle. In 2004 our family was granted the opportunity to resettle in Utica, NY in hopes of a better life and belonging. Currently, I am a senior in Utica College studying Cyber Security while producing for Nomadic Voices.
Why should we feature you?: I want to be able to be featured because I want to represent all of the people that built me. “It takes a village to raise a child.” This saying resides with me because of how true it is. When my family first came to America, my parents were busy working every night and day, so they had little time to watch us. My siblings and I attended the Thea Bowman House. From then on, I started being involved in more and more community organizations. From Young Scholars, Junior Frontiers, to being a volunteer to Midtown Utica Community Center. I was always involved because it made me happy. I want to be able to represent Utica, Upstate, being a refugee, and all of whom influence me.
What do you love about living here?: I love living here because of the many communities that I consider my family. I love the diversity. I love how accepting Utica can be to immigrants and refugees. I love the different varieties of food. I love that Utica is such a small city which gives individual opportunities but also not too small to where there is nothing to do.
What is Upstate, NY to you?: When I tell people about Upstate, NY I tell them about how beautiful the area is. It is filled with nature and trees bigger than Central Park. I tell them about the Adirondacks and how rich it is with nature. Upstate NY is filled with beautiful hikes, a strong refugee population, and endless opportunities.
Are you originally from here?: No
If no, where are you from?: I was born in Thailand but my family is from Kawthoolei
How long have you lived here?: 17 years
Why do YOU choose to live here?: To be honest, I had no power when deciding to live here. I don’t think a five-year-old had any expertise on which city is the best place to live in. Our family was supposed to live in Boston because a family from there sponsored us to move to America. However, my parents decided that Utica was the better option. Utica had more opportunities for my parents, it was more affordable, and there was already a Karen community that my family can rely on.
List some of your favorite, local “must-visit” hot spots:: Pho Mekong
Heart of Cambodia
List some of your favorite, local “must-do” activities:: Attending a Nomadic Voices event or any creative events in the area. I also love attending events that exposes me to different cultures.