Khamsi Bounkhong Siluangkhot and Noubath Siluangkhot are the parents and anchors of the larger Phapphayboun family. After her children began to leave Laos in search of better opportunities in the United States, Noubath dreamed of reuniting the family in one place. Today, all but one of Noubath’s children live in two homes that are just a few miles apart in Morganton, North Carolina. Dara is the oldest daughter of the Phapphayboun family, and was the first to move to NC with her husband Daniel in 1994, followed years later by her younger sister Toon Phapphayboun, her brother Noh and his wife Meemee, and finally her father and mother.
The two family homes—the decorations, customized kitchens, and annual celebrations such as the family’s Vietnamese New Year’s festival—sustain Lao identity in the most personal of ways. Always generous hosts, other Lao and American friends often take a seat at the Phapphayboun’s table. The culture of their home preserves are reimagines Laos in the context of rural North Carolina.