Keep Houston Press Free

Free Rice-Cookers Help Out Burmese Refugees Here

A crowd of Burmese refugees gathered in the parking lot Sunday afternoon at the Sun Blossom Mountain apartment complex on Ranchester Drive -- which was the subject of our recent cover story on Houston's refugees -- and waited for John Glenn to shout their names.

A local company, Roguescene Houston, had the previous weekend hosted a charity event on behalf of the 150 Burmese families who live there in order to raise enough money to buy each of them a rice cooker. And a truck full of them, along with a small team of volunteers in black shirts, had just arrived.

Glenn, a former activist in Burma (or Myanmar) who has helped to organize his fellow refugees since arriving here in January, spent much of the last week putting together a list of names and spreading the word. He says people were initially hesitant to cooperate, because they didn't believe the cookers would actually show up.

But the crowd grew fast on Sunday, and refugees walked up one by one to collect their cookers as Glenn worked his way down the list

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