Prior to reading the articles for this week, I could be found sitting in a giant pool of self-pity because I am pretty sick. After reading, such self-pity is long gone and guilt has set in. Last week I spoke a lot about this guilty feeling because my life is oh so great– my life is still great and yet so many beautiful souls are facing unimaginable struggles as I sit here typing. Week four into our journey, the guilt is stronger than ever, but so is my desire to immerse myself in this topic.
“I spent many nights underground without any bed or blanket with very little food to survive on. I feared and worried for my life. But I was not upset for myself because I am a man and a man never gives up. I think I was on my way for more than two months.” – Farid Ahmad
Farid Ahmad’s (a refugee from Afghanistan) words were just what i needed this week: a reminder of how small I am. Farid’s story spoke to me because he constantly reiterates the fact that he is not selfish rather selfless. This is not about me, this is not about satisfying the guilt mentioned above, this is about something BIG– the mountain, a problem. Refugee camps play a big role in this problem.
When in a refugee camp, one’s identity is lost, there is nothing to do but wait and exist. A place created to provide peace often become a dangerous, unsanitary place that ends up creating more ill will than peace. How? Why? I used to think of refugee camps as a sanctuary, a so-called great escape. Why provide the bare minimum? Why have overcrowding to the point that people are starving because you can’t accommodate them? I am shocked, upset and confused. We need faster transitions into resettlement, and we need to somehow fix this broken system.