If I Could Meet My Parents Again
Teenage North Korean Defector
Arrived in South Korea in February 2006
The following three accounts are from a conversation with one of the program officers of Citizens' Alliance for North Korean Human Rights (NKHR), after the defectors safely arrived in a third country via China in 2005.
I am older sister Min Ju and was born in June of 1986, and my younger sister Min Hee was born in April of 1988 in Eunduk of North Hamkyong Province.
I lived in the same town as Yu Hwa, and we went to People’s School together. Until second grade, I went to school everyday, but upon entering the third grade, I stopped attending school regularly. The reason was due to lack of food; I had to either go around and find food or sell things. Although Yu Hwa and I went to the same school, we were not friends then. We became friends only later in Najin Sonbong, where I met Yu Hwa while I was selling things with my mother. Since then, we have been relying on each other’s support.
There are four members in my family; us two and my mother and father. My father worked in Eunduk Coal Mine. My mother stayed home until our lives became difficult. She then started selling things. One day, after we all shared a bowl of rice that my father had received from the mine, hunger began. Because we were drinking just water all day, I had no energy to stand up; my legs shook, and my head spun. I thought that we would die. My younger sister Min Hee would cry to sleep and wake up and cry, surviving a week in this manner. Thinking that the entire family would die if this continued, my father visited and borrowed food from other family members, which was just barely enough for survival. After we recovered some energy, we concluded that we couldn’t survive in Eunduk, and I went to Najin Sonbong with my mom and my sister, where we sold cabbage. We went back to Eunduk in October of 2000 after we earned a small sum of money, but my father was still working without any compensation in the mine. Concluding that there was no hope, I decided to go to China with Yu Hwa, whom I had met in Najin. We left without anything and defected to China.
My mother is very weak because she has suffered many illnesses. After I become successful, I would like to meet my father and my mother. If I go to China from South Korea and marry a Chinese person, I could perhaps see my parents. My worldly wish is to become a model. I also want to become an anchorwoman. I also want to do things like knitting.