Our annual series, “Dine Out for My Life,” features a different local who has been affected by HIV/AIDS every day between now and Dining Out for Life (DOFL), on April 24th.
My name is … Ja Mai
What’s your Philly connection?I am originally from Burma. I am from an ethnic group called Kachin. Philly area has a sizable community of Burmese ethnic minorities who came here mainly as refugees. I came here for college about 10 years ago. I have been living here ever since. I love this area. We have some wonderful people and places here.
What do you do for work? I am a therapist working with children and their families.
How has HIV/AIDS affected your life?Through my previous job as a medical case manager and volunteering in my community, I have come across many people from different backgrounds who are affected by it. Some of them are my own friends.
The biggest thing I have learned from my experience with HIV/AIDS is … Instead of putting our efforts on questioning why one might be affected by HIV, we should put our efforts on how we can fight against it. Misinformation or lack of information continues to be a problem in our community. Discrimination for those living with HIV/AIDS continues to exist in our community. We should put our energy on learning accurate information about the virus, and how we can support each other in our fight against it. The HIV virus doesn’t discriminate anybody. Why should we?
Have a Dining Out for Life restaurant recommendation?My favorite restaurant isDistrito. Tapas fromDistrito are out of this world. I had an amazing night sharing tapas with friends while knowing we are spending our money for a great cause. Dining Out For Life gives us a variety of options – from casual and fancy restaurants to food trucks. I have always been able to find one that fits my budget.
In three words, describe the perfect dining out experience …Good company. Good food. Good cause. I guess that is more than three words, but Dining Out For Life has all of these. It will be one of the most delicious and meaningful meals you've ever had.
Kachin, tribal peoples occupying parts of northeastern Myanmar (Burma) and contiguous areas ofIndia (Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland) and China (Yunnan). The greatest number of Kachin live in Myanmar (roughly 790,000), but some 150,000 live in China and a few thousand in India. Numbering about 1012,000 in the late 20th century, they speak a variety of languages of the Tibeto-Burman group and are thereby distinguished as Jinghpaw, or Jingpo (Chingpaw [Ching-p’o], Singhpo), Atsi, Maru (Longvo), Lachid, Nung (Rawang), and Lisu .
The traditional Kachin religion is a form of animistic ancestor cult entailing animalsacrifice. As a result of the arrival of American and European missionaries in Burma beginning in the late 19th century, a majority of the Kachin are Christian, mainly Baptist and Roman Catholic. Among the Kachin in India, Buddhism predominates.