Sojourn Spotlight – Terri Pollard

Born in Maymyo, Burma in 1928, Terri Pollard has had quite the adventurous life. Her father, a Swiss born electrical engineer traveled with his family for his company to help set up electricity in the new British colony. While in Burma, Terri experienced the rise of Burmese Nationalism and the Burmese Revolt that followed. Still a young girl, Terri’s father died leaving his British wife and their 5 small children refugees.

Terri was sent to live with a foster family in Mandalay and attended several convent schools throughout her education. Her foster father was in the British Army and took very good care of Terri and her foster mother. Terri still remembers the Japanese occupation of Burma during WWII as a chaotic time filled with soldiers, bombings and sometimes hunger. Her surroundings included monsoons, jungle life and elephants that Terri still remembers watching help clear roads as a child.

When asked where her favorite memories come from, Terri is quick to point out the purple plains below the Himalayan mountains. “It was beautiful. We moved there for a short time and I remember riding my horse and being very happy”, recalls Terri. Another memory that has her smiling is the time she met Mother Teresa in Calcutta and spending a couple days with The Missionaries of Charities. She remembers being welcomed with open arms, although her dog Pudding was not. Told there were no dogs allowed in the sleeping quarters, Pudding would wait around the corner of the building until he could sneak in with Terri undetected.

Again, moving to a new place, Terri spent time in Rangoon before moving to England as a young adult. There she met her husband who was an Aero Dynamist with the Royal Airforce. His next career took them to Washington state where he worked for Boeing. While pregnant with her only son, Terri’s husband died leaving her a young widow with a baby. While Terri was a working mother, she connected with her birth mother who was living in St. Paul, Minnesota with her two brothers. The reunion was a blessing Terri says she’ll always remember.

Today, Terri has two grandchildren and one great-grandchild. She lost her son to cancer a few years ago, but continues to remain optimistic. After being through all she has in her life with war and loss, Terri says she was taught as a small child to always move forward and stay positive. “My foster father told me to always tell the truth, stand up for what I believe in and stay strong”, recalls Terri. Clearly the advice has been golden.