Children First: Valley family keeping Hmong heritage alive in multi-generational home

Kassandra Gutierrez Image
Wednesday, December 14, 2022
Children First: Valley woman's multi-generational home
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Multi-generational homes are a common practice in Hmong culture.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Pazau Xiong lives in a multi-generational home with her parents, her husband, and their three little girls.

Multi-generational homes are a common practice in her Hmong culture.

Childcare, finances and a tight-knit dynamic are all reasons two to three generations choose to live together.

Despite the challenges, Pazau says the positives always outweigh the bad.

"I think it is very meaningful and very blessed to have that. Because I feel like with the new generations, a lot of families are working families. So, not a lot of young generations, they don't have that opportunity to sit with their grandparents or even with their parents," explained Pazau.

Over 35,000 Hmong people live in Fresno, the second largest Hmong population in the United States.

Pazau's parents came to the United States from Laos in January of 1986 after the Secret War.

They brought their eleven children and very little belongings.

Pazau's mom, Teng Lee, recalls the move to the Central Valley.

"We could not bring a lot of things when we came to America but we were fortunate enough to find local stores that sold fabrics we could purchase and sew the custom Hmong clothing for our kids and grandkids," said Teng.

Teng described caring after her grandkids as a way to keep her heritage alive.

They spend time in their garden planting traditional foods and speaking in her native language.

"I am very blessed to see that my grandkids show signs and interest in learning the Hmong language and interested in wearing the Hmong custom clothing, it shows me they are really knowledgeable about their history and where their roots are," Teng said.

When Pazau and her husband first got married, they moved to Oklahoma. After a year, it was family that brought them back home.

"We had each other, but we missed our families a lot. We missed the diversity of culture and traditions. Oklahoma was very tight-knit but they didn't have a lot of stores we normally shopped at for food and groceries," explained Pazau.

Pazau is working on a documentary about her family history.

It is a way to ensure the sacrifice of leaving everything behind is remembered.

Pazau's family hopes their culture, heritage and language lives on for generations to come.