The Life of a Refugee

The other day when I was still in Seattle our team visited World Relief, an organization that focuses on disaster relief, agriculture, microfinance, human trafficking, refugee care, etc. While we were there we went through a 3-hr simulation of a life of a refugee. We actually got to take on the role of a refugee family (our large group of 30 was split into families from different countries, my family of 4 was from Somalia.) We had to memorize a page of facts about our life, dress in the typical country attire, and then go to 3 locations around the block and act as that family.

I know, sounds cheesy right? Well, I actually really liked it. Our family was from Somalia, but lived in Ethiopia in a refugee camp for 9 years, and were applying to come into the United States. We went to a medical clinic (to test for disease, malnutrition, etc.), the UN for an interview, then the food ration station. Early in the game we started to barter what possessions (watches, rings) we had on us for medicine, a boiling pot, a cardboard box (home), and consideration for entrance into the states. Each place had officials that were mean, rude, and impatient with us. Believe it or not, it was pretty stressful. Every wrong answer we gave put us in a worse situation, and sometimes even the roll of a dice determined our fate.

The whole goal was to step inside the life of a refugee trying to survive and come to a place of better opportunity. Everything we did, no matter how nice we were, didn't guarantee us anything. It was truly the luck of the draw.

After the game a couple refugee's from Burma came and spoke to us, it turns out everything we had experienced was accurate -- except magnetized about 1,000 times to make it complete reality. It's crazy to think that sexism, racism, and hopelessness still resides in countries around the world; and people will do anything to get out of a hopeless situation...

It was a good experience, very eye opening...

1 comment:

Emil said...

wow thats cool...maybe we could take notes for the heritage room