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A Habitat Story: “There is no more fear”

Thank you to Habitat for Humanity of Durham for sharing the following story with us about Lal and her family. They’ve now been in their Habitat home for over a year. Over the next few weeks, you’ll be able to read more inspiring Habitat stories. We hope that you will support LUEWWD IX: Nailin’ It! which is raising funds for the 2013 Women Build.

Lal Mawi/Thuam has experienced different types of homes throughout her life. The now 45-year old mother of two (son Gideon, 28 and daughter Naomi, 25) was born and raised in Burma. Officially called the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Burma is located in South Asia, bordered by India, Bangladesh, China, Laos, and Thailand.

For many years, Lal and her children lived in Burma with her parents. They all shared a room. Food was scarce. There was no electricity. The family would have to line up every day for a small rice portion, given by the government. Because of long-standing racial issues in the country, Lal and her family were identified as illegal aliens, unable to leave the area.

To help her family’s financial situation, Lal moved to Egypt to work and sent the money back to Burma. She stayed for six years, only returning once. Shortly after returning from Egypt, Lal and her children escaped the country and immigrated to Thailand.

The family stayed in a refugee camp for three years. Ten people to a room, they slept on a cot on the floor with mosquito nets. Every so often, the Thai police would enter the camp and line up the refugees, asking for identification. While the conditions may sound abhorrent to Americans, Lal and her family were grateful to be in Thailand because, for the first time, they had enough food to satisfy their hunger.

The family applied for refugee status in the United States in 2008 and was able to leave the refugee camp. The non-profit World Relief sponsored the immigration process and offered legal support, job training and English classes to the family.

“It felt a little bit like heaven,” Lal explains of her family’s first day in the U.S. “For the first time, we got to sleep on a bed. In Burma and Thailand, only the rich have beds. Here, even refugees have these things: a bed, a car, a job.”

Since arriving, Lal and her children have had various types of employment. Lal currently works at UNC-Chapel Hill in Housekeeping, Gideon is a translator for other refugees, and Naomi is a full time student at Durham Tech. They were selected for a Habitat home in 2011 and worked with the organization to rehab their home in Northeast Central Durham.


Lal and her son Gideon

Lal and her family moved into their home in May of last year. It was the first time that each member of the family could have his or her own room.  When they first moved in, they were excited to decorate the home and plant trees in the yard.

“There is no more fear,” Lal says. “We won’t have to move again, because the home belongs to us.”

2012-08-18 12.59.06

Call for LUEWWD IX Contestants, Sponsors, Volunteers

LUEWWD IX: Nailin’ It! is set for Saturday, September 7, 2013, at Casbah. We look forward to seeing you there for a stupendously fun ladies’ arm-wrestling experience and fundraiser!

Funds raised at LUEWWD IX: Nailin’ It! will go toward Habitat for Humanity of Durham’s 2013 Women Build. LUEWWD is hoping to bring fundraising and physical brawn to the project.

Contestants should get on board! Those who sign up soon will have extra time to come up with a great costume, build up both their arm muscles and entourage, help LUEWWD spread the word, and get moving with fundraising.  Let us know reallllllly soon if you’d like to participate! If you need help getting the creative juices flowing for your character or costume, check out previous events’ photos on this site or on Facebook. Or check out your competitors who have already signed up!

Want to donate your time and talents as a volunteer? We extend a warm welcome to anyone interested in helping us host these events; they simply couldn’t happen without our fantastic volunteers. Volunteer jobs include: admission, human/walking ATM, contestant round-up, bar service, merchandise and raffle ticket sales, and more. Tell us what you’d like to do at LUEWWD IX!

LUEWWD - Industrial Strength (4/20/13)

Want to be an event or contestant sponsor? THANK YOU for thinking of us! We can’t wait to talk to you. Please send an email to We have a few donation levels designated with various benefits, and, whenever possible, we incorporate sponsors into the event in creative ways. CheeringFans

You’ve probably caught the drift of this post by now… we want to hear from you! So email if you want to be involved as a contestant, volunteer or sponsor with LUEWWD IX: Nailin’ It!, and/or if you just want to know more about the League of Upper Extremity Wrestling Women of Durham.

Pictures from LUEWWD VIII: Industrial Strength

Event results are posted HERE!

Would you like to watch the VIDEO (yep, a video!)? Thanks, Aiden Dillard!

The photos shown here were taken by BJ Council, Megan Morr and Christine Nguyen.


LUEWWD II: The Bitch is Back

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Results from LUEWWD VII!

One LUEWWD tradition that we organizers enjoy is waking up the morning after each crazy arm-wrestling fundraiser, heading to the Casbah for a clean-up, then going off to eat brunch and relive key moments from the night before. The retelling is nearly as vivid as when the moment actually happened. While sipping mimosas and dining on some fine brunch at Alivia’s (who also shelled out 10% of their late night proceeds to Girls Engineering Change), here is what we talked about:

  • LUEWWD attendees got a chance to enjoy some of the pre-game fun in the Casbah parking lot with 3 food trucks: the Parlour (who were back for their third LUEWWD event!) and our two new LUEWWD pre-gamers Mama Duke’s and Big City Sandwiches. We were glad for the good weather so attendees could have their noms outside and play some cornhole while waiting for the doors to open.
  • If you managed to leave the Casbah without hearing about Twisted Tea then you probably had a bit too much to drink before you showed up. Twisted Tea was our newest sponsor and shared a lot of great swag and, of course, some tasty tea! Yes, it really does taste like tea.
  • Speaking of new, we had eight totally new contestants at LUEWWD Science. Every single entourage had a lot of energy and creativity to share with the crowd: men in drag, cowbells, biohazard babies, revolution, hammers, juice boxes and orange slices (this came with the minivan crew– see below), swords, and a golden goose.
  • Marilyn Manho did her signature seductive opening stage routine to the Weird Science theme song decked out in a LUEWWD half shirt and LUEWWD underwear…and nothing else. Speaking of being scantily clad, Fur Pelton John returned to the stage as round boy in nothing but his LUEWWD underwear, his man merkin, beaver tail and a lovely pink LUEWWD tank top.
  • Last LUEWWD we saw a contestant ride in on a chariot. This time we saw the entire Soccer Maim entourage arrive on stage in a minivan. A minivan?! Very impressive.
  • An orange-faced Oompa Loompa beat Havanna the Renegade in a dance-off after tying her in a full-body rock, paper, scissors brawl (this sentence only makes sense to LUEWWD enthusiasts). Later, the little Oompa and her entourage (Willy Wonka, Charlie, Veruca Salt, and Violet) went on to win Durham Diva for having the best costumes.
  • Maid of Dishonor not only took home the Queen of the Losers prizes (nothing to be ashamed of, it’s quite an honor), but she and her entourage also won the Madame Moneymaker trophy, having brought in over $500.
  • Hula hooping, combined with regular ol’ arm-wrestling, determined the championship. Sporty Spartan and Test Tube Mama both approached the hula-hooping challenge with intense determination, but only one could be champion. With some serious bribes in action and the judges ruling to make the final call, Sporty Spartan claimed the LUEWWD Championship Belt.
  • Judge Robert Bland (The Preacher Man) raised $200 to drop his pants while arm wrestling and revealed his LUEWWD tattoo (on his thigh) while his fellow judges Kaferine de Nerve and Erik Hagen pulled money from the crowd.
  • Stage bouncer Sassy McKlassy and Ze Ref nailed their new roles, keeping the stage safe, fun and drama free. However, Sassy did send quite a few Twisted Tea t-shirts into the crowd at random.
  • Jeff Poe of Phunco framed his original poster sketches of the lovely Marilyn Manho and Judge Robert Bland auctioned them off to the crowd.
  • We also wanted to give a shout out to our photographer BJ Council who did a great job getting shots of all the contestants, open table matches, and the stage crew. By the end of the evening we already had a disk full of pictures in our hands to post on facebook. Thanks again, BJ!
  • To all of the folks who came to a LUEWWD event for the first time, welcome to the madness, friends! We hope to see you again.

LUEWWD VII Details!!

We can almost hear it now…the pulsing sound of a room packed full of people watching eight women take to the stage in the seventh women’s arm wrestling fundraiser in Durham: LUEWWD Science. As always, we want to get all of our LUEWWDers (especially the new ones) up to speed regarding what to expect.  

And, most importantly, keep in mind that every $35 raised will cover the cost of a Durham High school girl participating in Engineering World Health’s Girls Engineering Change Initiative!
  • First things first…underwear…we’re selling some–along with onesies, bumper stickers, magnets, and our coveted LUEWWD upcycled t-shirts! So be sure to stop at the merch table.
  • Secondly…cash…you’ll need to bring some cold, hard cash in order to pay the $5 entry fee, buy merchandise, bribe judges, and support your favorite wrestler.
  • Third, have dinner with us! Get to the Casbah early for the 6:00 pre-game to enjoy food from Big City Sandwiches, Mama Duke’s, and the ParlourWe will also be playing cornhole and rubbing elbows with our famed stage crew: Fur Pelton John and Madame Muscle as our Round Boy and Girl, Marilyn Manho as the mistress of ceremonies, Ze Dirty Butcher returning as Ze Ref, Sassy McKlassy as our stage bouncer, and our judges- Robert Bland and Kaferine de Nerve.
  • Fourth, after the pre-game, the doors will open at 7:30 and the event will start at 9:00.
  • Fifth…tickets…it’s best to buy these online to cut down on the wait at the door and ensure you’ve got a spot inside. 
  • Number six…drinks…we will be featuring tasty Twisted Tea from our beverage sponsor The Boston Beer Company. Of course there will be lots of other brews on tap and a full bar.
  • Lucky number seven… You can join the fun. After Round II, the crowd has the chance to pay to wrestle (or get other friends to wrestle) or take a spin on the stale mate wheel.  But we’re not cheap so you’ll need to fork over ample dough to get on stage!
  • Lastly, the after party for LUEWWD VII is just a short walk across the street to Alivia’s. They will be donating 10% of sales from 11 to close!

See you on Saturday!

LUEWWD Science to sponsor Girls Engineering Change

LUEWWD VII is just around the corner and we wanted to tell you a bit about this event’s beneficiary. The LUEWWD organizers are teaming up with Engineering World Health to raise funds for a new initiative  called Girls Engineering Change (GEC). GEC is a Duke University mentorship program that pairs female engineering students with girls in Durham high schools to encourage them to pursue science careers and teach them the importance of those technical skills in solving major world problems. Mentees will assemble low-cost medical devices that are a part of a global health initiative. Click here to read more.

In honor of the beneficiary, we decided to stick with the science theme and dig up an old 80’s movie classic. You 30-somethings and beyond may remember Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith donning bras on their heads and zapping a Barbie doll to create a stunning Kelly LeBrock. This time, instead of two outcast schoolboys hovering over a Barbie doll trying to make a woman, we have stunning women dressed in costumes leaning over an arm wrestling table trying to make money for schoolgirls and science…ergo LUEWWD VII is LUEWWD Science!!

Join us on August 4th at the Casbah for some great entertainment and to raise funds for Girls Engineering Change. Doors open at 7:30, event begins at 9:00 and tickets are $5! Have dinner out that night — enjoy a delectable treat from one or more of these Triangle food trucks: Big City Sandwiches, The Parlour and MaMa Duke’s.

For those of you who want a closer look at the action, sign up to be a contestant! All you need is 4 friends and a costume. It’s really that easy. Email us at by July 20th (don’t wait too long, though, because registration will open up to previous contestants on July 15th).

LUEWWD SuperCLAW viewing and fundraising party a success!

On June 16th, 2012, LUEWWD hosted a local viewing of the first national ladies’ arm-wrestling championship SuperCLAW (held in Charlottesville, VA). Ze Dirty Butcher was Durham’s contender and an entourage of burlesque pigs and DurHAMs were her support staff for the weekend. She somehow made Durham even prouder of her, and did a great job of keeping her competition on their toes… literally. There were a couple shimmy-offs in addition to the arm-wrestling, and let’s get serious… she crushed it all around. Great connections were made with leagues across the country and the LUEWWD’s Moshi Moshi Stalemate Wheel led to some hilarious dance-offs, thumb-wrestling, full body rock-paper-scissor matches and hula hooping contestants. LUEWWD will continue to bring the best of the ladies’ arm-wrestling world to its audience in Durham.

The local event took place at Fullsteam Brewery, and former LUEWWD contestants Peter Pain, HERcules and Princess Slaya were on hand to keep the donations flowing… after all, LUEWWD is ultimately about fundraising! All funds raised at the local event ($1,161.25) were donated to Durham Crisis Response Center (DCRC) to go toward replacement costs for their roof. Add to that the funds from the national event ($1,544), and the total is $2,705.25! DCRC is the only agency in Durham County that works with survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

Couldn’t make it? You can still support DCRC and show your LUEWWD pride with a donation now! (Be sure to write “LUEWWD” as the Designation)

Photos of the local SuperCLAW viewing party at Fullsteam

Photos of the national SuperCLAW event in Charlottesville

Thank you to everyone who attended or supported this event by donating time and/or funds, and spreading the word about LUEWWD and SuperCLAW.

Even special-er thanks to:

May Alexander, for co-planning the local event and helping “buy a shingle” come to life

Melody Guyton Butts of The Herald-Sun, for writing an article about LUEWWD’s response to DCRC’s need

BJ Council, for taking photos at the event and donating her 50/50 raffle winnings to DCRC!

DCRC board members, for their willingness to greet people, sell raffle tickets and share the DCRC mission

Dirty Durham, for posting about our event

Anelda, Mike and Steve Hess, for giving their time again to the LUEWWD cause as volunteers

Sam Poley of the Durham Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, for spreading the word about our event locally and nationally

Fullsteam Brewery, for donating space, equipment and $1 for every pint purchased that night ($200…make that $250 — they upped their donation), and for being so darn friendly

Indy Weekly, for posting our event to their calendar

Moshi Moshi (kick-ass salon in Durham and Chapel Hill), for their annual support of LUEWWD that helped us give a boost to local funds raised for DCRC

Jeff Poe of Phunco, for designing the incredible poster for the local event featuring Ze Dirty Butcher

Mark your calendars! Saturday, August 4th, is LUEWWD VII: LUEWWD Science at Casbah. The beneficiary will be the Girls Engineering Change program developed by Engineering World Health: this STEM mentoring program pairs female high school students in Durham with female engineering undergrads at Duke. More details to come on this site, Facebook and Twitter.

Voice of a Survivor: Maggie

With your support of the Durham Crisis Response Center (DCRC) this Saturday at LUEWWD’s SuperCLAW party, you can give survivors like Maggie* a chance to make it through crisis and share their voice. 

Since age eight, Maggie’s father has raped her; she is now 11-years old. Recently, Maggie confided in a friend that she thought she might be pregnant. Her friend told a school nurse and authorities were called. Tests revealed that she was three months pregnant. Police arrested and charged the father with rape and incest. There are two other children in the home, a boy age, 10 and a girl age 7. It is likely the other daughter was victimized. The son admitted to seeing the rape of his older sister because they all shared one bedroom.

The nurse called DCRC for help, as the mother did not speak English. The mother made the decision for Maggie to have an abortion. DCRC arranged for specialized counseling for the child through Duke and for the mother through El Futuro. Counseling for the other children will begin soon. Our legal advocate provided court advocacy and assisted the mother in securing a temporary protective order. The parents are not citizens, but efforts are underway to help the mother with this process. The mother was an incest victim at age 5 and had revealed this to her husband, so the abuse of her daughter is a double strike.

This is not a normal case for DCRC, but DCRC was in a position to respond to the urgency of the case.

More about DCRC.

*Name was changed.

Other stories:




Voice of a Survivor: Holly

With your support of the Durham Crisis Response Center (DCRC) this Saturday at LUEWWD’s SuperCLAW party, you can give survivors like Holly* a chance to make it through crisis and share their voice. 

Holly, 35 years old, was in court inquiring about a domestic violence protective order (DVPO) and was referred to DCRC’s Legal Advocate. Her face was completely bruised after her live-in boyfriend pummeled her upper body. He told Holly that if the police were called, he was prepared to “go down.”

He was arrested and police discovered he had an extensive record from another state involving firearms and domestic violence.  He was charged with assault on a female and given an unsecured bond of $1,500 and was in jail less than a day.

The Legal Advocate took photos and after receiving the DVPO, Holly opted to leave her residence and needed advocacy from DCRC with her landlord. DCRC was successful in helping her break her lease in accordance with NC law. DCRC also helped her enroll in the Address Confidentiality Program because the husband returned to the apartment and harassed her. She was referred to DCRC Counselor for individual and support group follow-up.                       

More about DCRC.

*Name was changed.

Other stories: