“Every day is a good memory for me because I love interacting with clients, and I love meeting new families.”
Meet Fung Mang. He is a full-time driver at Exodus, and he is celebrating 10 years with us! Fung Mang drives the Exodus bus, which is a partnership between IndyGo and Exodus. He drives clients who do not have access to transportation or whose jobs are not accessible by the bus line. Fung Mang also assists case managers by driving clients to and from their appointments.
To celebrate Fung Mang’s tenth anniversary, we asked him about himself and his memories from 10 years at Exodus.
I was born and raised in Falam, Chin State in Burma, which is now known as Myanmar. In 2000, I fled Chin State to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I met my wife in Malaysia, and we got married in November 2006. Since my wife and I had separate refugee cases, I came to the United States on my own as a refugee. In 2009, I moved from Florida to Indianapolis because I had friends living here, and they told me that Indianapolis was a great city. That year was also the year that I was finally reunited with my wife, and she was resettled through Exodus Refugee. I currently live on the south side with my wife, 8-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son.
One day, I was driving to work, and I was stopped by the rebel militia group in the city. I was detained, and they beat me up. They also refused to release me unless I paid thousands of dollars. Once I was released, I was then stopped by the military a few hours later, and they knew that the rebel militia group had detained me. So they detained me too and then sent me to court. When I had the chance, I jumped out of the window in court while I was in handcuffs, and I escaped. Gun fires were shot at me, but I kept running. I ran for 15 miles until I made it to a safer city. I then called my brother, and he helped me escape to Malaysia. I took a bus to Thailand, and then walked to Malaysia. I spent several days and nights walking between the forests until I made it to Kuala Lumpur.
I speak Burmese, Malay, and some of the Chin dialects: Falam, Tedim, Hakha, and Mizo.
I finished middle school in Burma, and since 1988, I have been a driver. I used to transport goods from Burma to India. Then when I fled to Malaysia as a refugee, I also worked as a driver. I used to transport dirt and construction material for different sites. In Florida, I worked at the sushi bar in Kroger.
I heard about Exodus through the pastor of my church, who worked at Exodus at that time. He knew that I enjoyed driving and that I had been a driver for most of my life. As a former refugee myself, I feel empathy for the refugees I work with every day because I know what it was like, and it was not easy.
“Exodus means pride. I feel proud to work with an agency that has a good reputation in the community.”
Every day is a little different, but my day starts at 5:00 AM with taking clients home from work since their shift ends so late, and the IndyGo bus does not run that late. I also take clients to the Social Security Administration, Exodus office, Marion County Public Health Department, and pick up some families from the airport. My day usually ends around 9:00 PM. I usually drive clients who live on the south side to Greenwood, Plainfield or Speedway. There are of course multiple breaks that I take during that time, and I usually go home and rest until the next pick up.
My wife and I became homeowners in 2011, and I became a United States Citizen in 2017. My wife became a citizen a few years after me. I have also been able to provide for my family, which is an accomplishment for me because I grew up poor. Now, my children can have better opportunities than I did.
Every day is a good memory for me because I love interacting with clients, and I love meeting new families. I also enjoy thinking of creative ways to interact with clients who speak different languages than me.
Exodus means pride. I feel proud to work with an agency that has a good reputation in the community. So many of my friends and community members always tell me how great Exodus is. I enjoy my job at Exodus, and I plan to work here until they get rid of me.