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How Tibetan Refugees And A Midwestern Woman Became Family

 In the early 1990s, U.S. Congress authorized 1,000 special visas for displaced Tibetans living in exile in India and Nepal. Tenzin Kalsang is a Tibetan who came to the U.S. as part of that resettlement. Despite a steady stream of struggles, and trying to navigate life without her family, Kalsang took a job as a cleaner in an office building. It was there that she struck up a friendship with writer and educator Madeline Uraneck, and the two went on to consider each other family. 

Uraneck documents that friendship and their many adventures together in the new book “How to Make a Life: A Tibetan Refugee Family and the Midwestern Woman They Adopted.” (Wisconsin Historical Society Press/2018). Uraneck and Kalsang will share their story at Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville on August 20 at 6 p.m. and at Kathmandu Kitchen in Asheville on August 21. They are also special guests at an event at Pullen Memorial Baptist Finlator Hall in Raleigh on Wednesday, Aug. 22 hosted by the North Carolina Peace Corps Association and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants North Carolina Field Office. 

Laura Pellicer is a digital producer with WUNC’s small but intrepid digital news team.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.