After doing five family visits in the past three days, a whole new definition of refugee has surfaced. In class we weighed heavily on genocide and refugee relations. I didn’t really explore the many different kinds of refugees there are and how many different situations can cause them to be in the situation they are. Two families were displaced from Libya and forced into a makeshift camp in Egypt based solely on war and violence. Both families were originally Sudanese and came to America was money and optimism for a bright future based in education. I found the similarities between the two family to be very close. After meeting them I also learned that the refugees the United States takes is influenced by our political interests. This is a struggle to think about because is there ever a more deserving refugee? Should some have priority over others?
I found the Cuban family to be the most relatable. They were welcoming and so happy to be in America. I found it really interesting that the mother knew she wanted to come to America since she was a young girl. Knowing that so many people dream of coming to the US for opportunity makes me more thankful.
The Somali woman and child were difficult to decompress because of their situation in America. After living a very harsh life in the refugee camp for 15 years, they are now here with only each other. The mom is struggling to go to class because of her small child. She has such high hopes of her family so being resettled here in the near future, I really hope that it will become a reality for her.
I found the Congolese family the most difficult to decompress. Their story was so moving because they struggled for so long. It really affected me that they talked about always striving for stability, something we easily take for granted. I’m so happy that they are positive and optimistic about their new life in America. When they said they thought we were courageous, I couldn’t help but feel the same about them. My life has been in no way comparable to their experience, and they really inspired me.
Overall, working with the families was by far more positive than I could have predicted. Firstly, the conversation came more easily than I originally thought. Secondly, their stories were always based on optimism about being here. And finally, I was finally able to see how we can make a difference. It may be somewhat small, but just being less judgmental about the people I see in public can make all the different.
After a fun 5 mile hike in the Sedona Red Rock, I have further respect and empathy for the refugees that travel thousands of miles to find peace and safety.