Oddny Gumaer from Norway founded Partners Relief & Development (PRAD) together with her Alaskan husband Steve. The organization helps hundreds of thousands of displaced people and refugees from Burma every year. For sixteen years she and her family lived and worked at their PRAD base in Thailand — leading the work from there. She is the author of two books, Displaced Reflections and Picking Flowers on Dusty Roads (both available on www.amazon.com). Oddny is the mother of three daughters who say they sometimes wonder what their nationality is. She and her family currently live in Norway, although their work still is with the people of Burma. When not busy working for Partners, taking care of her kids, her husband and their Labradoodle, Bob Marley, Oddny likes to go for runs, hikes, cross-country ski trips and she dreams of owning a kayak one day.
Over the years of working with refugees from Burma, I have often wondered what their most important possession is. We have even made lists of the things that they bring with them as they flee the attacks of soldiers: a machete, cooking pot, tarp, lighter, rice and salt. All those things are essential for survival in the jungle. The same with medicine and warm blankets. These are possessions that give life.