My Life in Colors: Mu Ruo’s Journey to CMC

On Sunday, October 11, guests at the 19th Annual Catherine’s Tea were privileged to hear firsthand the words of Mu Ruo, a student from Burma who participates in CMC’s Adult Basic Education Program. In the video below, you, too, can hear her compelling narration that highlights the colors which have represented the various stages of her journey to the U.S.

Transcript below:

Hello! Nice to see you today. My name is Mu Ruo. Today I am going to use colors to tell you about my past life in Burma.

Green: the hills all around our village in Burma.
Beautiful Gold: the rice when it’s ready for harvest.
White, Blue, Red, Pink: the handwoven dresses we wore to church on Sundays. In those dresses we sang our colors to Jesus.
Green and tall: the bamboo in the forest and in village yards.
White and Brown: the chickens under our house with stilts.
Pink: the sticky rice cooked inside a banana leaf that we ate with a little sugar.

Dark Green: the soldiers’ uniforms who came to our village. All the same dark green.
Dark Gray: the guns the soldiers carried.
Red: the fire from our burning houses.
Gray: the smoke that rose up and spread out to block the sky.
Black: the ground after the fire when we returned to see what the soldiers had done.
Dark Black: the cave where we hid in the forest.

Dark Black: the 30 nights we walked to the refugee camp after we said goodbye to our village.
Golden: the bamboo houses of the refugee camp, my new village.
Clear Blue: the creek that flows through the camp.
White: the plastic bags of rice stacked under our house–rations from the UN.
Brown: the trails we walked in the camp, the same brown trails every day for 8 years.

White: the letter that said I could move to the United States.
I wish I could remember the color of the plane we rode in to the US, but we were so worried for our lives that I didn’t pay attention to the color!
Bright Colors: the first colors I saw in America.
White: the skin of so many Americans!
Yellow: the bus that now takes my kids to school.
Pink, Yellow, Red: the roses in my front yard in Cedar Rapids.
Green: the long beans I grow in my back yard.
Red, White, and Blue: the US flag that waves in front of our house.
Green: my Green Card!

Blue, Red, Green, and Orange:  the books I’ve worked through at the Catherine McAuley Center.
White: my teacher’s white pants. She has taught me since 2011. She is so kind and helps me with my English and also with my life.

At CMC I have found a community of people who share their friendship and knowledge with me.With the Center’s help I have learned all the questions on the citizenship test. I have done my fingerprinting in Des Moines, and I am ready to take the test and become a citizen!

The one-teacher-one-student system helps me learn because it gives me more opportunity to speak, write, and read.I want to thank the Education staff of the Catherine McAuley Center. Thanks to all of you here today for helping support the Center.


The Catherine McAuley Center would like to extend a special thanks to Mu Ruo for sharing her story and her smile with us, as well as each guest at Catherine’s Tea, who by attending the event, supported the CMC programs that help hundreds of other students just like Mu Ruo to integrate into the Cedar Rapids community.

You can directly impact the life of a CMC student by becoming a volunteer tutor. Tutors work one-on-one with a student through an English as a Second Language curriculum provided by CMC each week. Read more about tutoring or register for a tutor orientation.