Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa

Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

September 27, 2018 Plays highlight issues of immigrant farmers, farmland inheritance
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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An overflow crowd watched two plays highlighting issues faced by immigrant farmers and families that need to pass farmland to the next generation.

The plays were written by Iowa poet laureate Mary Swander and sponsored by Friends of the Kalona Public Library and Humanities Iowa.

The first play, “Vang,” was actually four stories melded into a play presented by actors Erin Mills and Rip Russell.

The play was a “verbatim show,” taken directly from interviews done by Swander and photographer Dennis Chamberlain. Throughout the play, photos of the immigrant farmers flashed on the screen behind the actors.

The plays depicted the struggles of immigrant farmers who came to the United States to establish a better life.

All came from different places, but all shared challenges settling in a new country.

“American Dream; we really live the American Dream,” a Hmong woman who settled near Des Moines was quoted in the play.

A Sudanese refugee talked about how working the land in Iowa offered a link to his life in refugee camps and his native Sudan.

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