Yeonmi Park might be the best example of a person who has indeed made lemonade when life gave her lemons. Faring from a family that was quite politically connected and successful, the North Korean economic malaise that washed over the country in the 1990s caused her family to turn to dubious means for making money, or black market trading as it were. Her father was apprehended for this illegal transacting, and was subsequently sent to a labor camp leaving his family behind, and just about starving.
Park and her mother fled to China where their fate would bring them into another bad situation, falling prey to human traffickers. Eventually they would escape from that situation, and make it to Mongolia. That dreadful turn-of-events galvanized Yeonmi Park to become an advocate on NY Times for those that are victimized by human traffickers.
Yeonmi Park has recently released on Amazon her book, In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom, in which she shares details of the harrowing ordeal she had to endure, as a child, in her escape from North Korea. At 13 years-old, and suffering from an appendectomy-gone-bad, Yeonmi Park and her mother were smuggled into China. Weighing just 60 pounds, mainly as a result of having had to go without food after her father was taken out of their home, she was clearly not adequately fortified for such a journey, yet it was a means of survival.
Having come from a country where she was duped into believing that their particularly obscure dictator, Kim Jong II, could read her mind, she knew her journey to China would be difficult, but with little point-of-reference on life outside of communist North Korea, she had no clue how bad things would get. Her book reveals sordid details of this journey-of-survival, and how she and her mother survived sexual slavery and other awful events, eventually getting away from these torturous circumstances. Her story is a fascinating tale of the will-to-live.