Can we relate in any way with all of our refugee friends?
Last night was a little tough for me. I hate to whine especially after everything I’ve seen but I’m going to anyway. Yesterday we worked non-stop, everything was fine until we had to turn on the light. Hundreds of bugs came in from the spaces between the walls of our hut and the grass ceiling it also has a plastic green covering that reminds who our host is because it has the UNHCR logo written all over, this prevents the water from coming in. I am not a BUG person so these guys were uuuuuugly! I felt bad because Gabe and Yuen Lin did not complain at all, as if they were sitting in an office in an elegant high-rise building in downtown L.A. It was hard for me to concentrate with these African insects jumping on my neck, dancing in my hair, popping in my mouth; well, you get the idea. So I don’t know how the translation turned out, hope our Spanish-speaking viewers understand.
I started out the day with hardly any sleep, (thanks to you know what). Gabe and I worked until mid-morning; Yuen Lin worked the latest so we let him sleep-in until 10ish.Then we were off to another camp. Again the same check-in with all the different authorities that you are sure are not going to let you come in but then suddenly say O.K.
Again we were swarmed by children, especially ages 3 to about 12. By coincidence we got out of the car and Gabe immediately recognized some of the women, and they Gabe. They were all happy to see each other. We had interesting conversations, that you will hear and view. The conditions were just about the same as I described for the first camp, deplorable! We talked to the women and learned that there is not much for them to do all day and most of these refugees have been here for 4 years! Can you imagine what that does to your psyche? The boredom that sets in has to be debilitating. There is not much to cook, not much to wash, some of them only have the old rags that they are wearing, so mostly they sit around and talk with family and neighbors. Every day, that is it!
Almost all of the children go to school in the mornings. In the afternoons they hang around in groups and play between the corridors of their tents. Many little kids are taking care of little kids. They teach them very young to care for each other and it seems to me that they enjoy very much that task.
These people love to smile! I do not know how they can keep it up. I think about any of us in this same situation and am sure we could not keep our spirits up for so long and with no hope of returning to our homes in the near future we would all be desperate. They are strong, but as one of the young women said;” I WANT TO GO HOME!” This I can relate to. Imagine loosing your home and not only that, but also many family members, and a refugee for so long. I would want to go home also. I can relate to the love for family that is obvious here at the camps.
Maybe we don’t speak the same languages and in every aspect, live very differently, but we can all relate to the basic human rights, to have a dignified standard of living, to go about without fearing for your life. To be productive and live where we want with the people we love.
Can you relate to that?
Amor y Paz,Connie