Eh Moo is a senior farm-hand at Green Connect. Farm manager Cal Champagne interviewed him about his early life and how he ended up working for Green Connect.
Eh Moo was born in Karenni state, Myanmar, in the forest that hugs the Thai-Myanmar border. His family were displaced from their home village by violence. So he spent his early childhood moving from place to place along the border, constantly running from the violence that surrounded him and his family. Eventually the UNHCR established a Karenni refugee camp in Thailand, and he lived there for 17 years.
Moving to Australia
In 2007, Eh Moo and his family were granted Australian residency. They moved to Wollongong and Eh Moo studied at Warrawong High School. After that, he studied community services at Wollongong TAFE. This was how he came into contact with Green Connect, as a work placement student helping our staff become work ready.
All of Green Connect’s staff are responsible, respectful, and hard-working, and Eh Moo is no exception. But what makes Eh Moo such a valuable part of our team is his insightful observation skills linked with his passion for people and for the planet.
Working at Green Connect
When asked what he liked about working at Green Connect, Eh Moo said: “Working at Green Connect makes me feel good about myself, I am very grateful that I work here. I used to feel very stressed and lonely, not able to find a job, but working has helped my emotional wellbeing by giving me hope and a future and I now feel part of the community.”
“I spent 17 years in a refugee camp. People who were born in the camp were neither recognised as Thai or Burmese citizens. So until I got my Australian citizenship I was country-less. I am so proud to be an Australian citizen.”
Eh Moo has a specific responsibility on the farm. He cares for the crops in the first four weeks of their lives when they are at their most vulnerable. He has become a master at identifying when a plant is at risk of falling prey to a pest or disease, when a plant is having hydration issues, or when it is having a reaction to the structure or nutritional composition of the soil.
His experience cultivating food in the refugee camp means he is able to fix these problems early. This gives the veggies a fighting chance to make it into Green Connect’s veggie boxes.
Eh Moo’s interpersonal skills are also hugely valuable in helping out with Green Connect’s diverse group of staff and volunteers.
Looking towards the future
He is also proudly Karenni and dreams of one day travelling back to his homeland to help teach sustainable farming practices among the refugee camps that still populate the Thai – Myanmar border.
Eh Moo said: “In the future, my goal is to go over to Myanmar to work with my Karenni people and teach them how to grow food in a sustainable way that is good for the environment, to compost and take care of the earth, while not wasting anything. I want to employ young Karenni people to give them hope and a future.”