Posts Tagged With: refugees

The War From War

Apparently Somali refugees who fled to Yemen from the fighting in Somalia are being forced to fight in Yemen’s own intensifying civil war by the rebel separtist in the north of the country. So far 16 refugees have been killed for refusing to take arms on behalf of the rebels. Others joined the rebels. Obviosly this is illegal under international law.

A while back it was the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia recruiting soldiers from refugee camps in Kenya with the help of the Kenyan governtment. Although this was not a forced recruitment, the morality of it is highly questionable to say the least.

Categories: Somalia | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Reflections of a Nomad Journey: Part 2

I sat nervously in front of the lady interviewing us with the rest of my family. Her dress was immaculate, I remember. And she spoke a perfect English, at least not the kind my ears were use to in Nairobi’s mixed lingo of Kiswahili and English. What was I doing in front of this Black-American (that’s what we called African-Americans back then) woman? This was our interview for our visa to the States. Now looking back I can’t help but feel how little I knew this interview’s result would impact my life forever.

We finally reached our final destination in NC around 3 or 4 in the morning. I already slept through most of the roadtrip but it didn’t help one bit, I still needed a lot more sleep. So I spent the next two days sleeping and only getting up to eat. My head felt really tipsy (no, I do not know the effects of alcohol but I’m guessing a hang-over does feel similar to jetlag), my appetite shitty, and my sleep incomplete. The following week we had our doctor visit – I think they call this “refugee check-up” – just in case the doctors in Africa missed some contagious disease that we were not suppose to bring to the U.S. Although they didn’t find anything, they gave us a pill for a month or two, which I think was suppose to “clean our” malaria-infested bodies for good. Not sure it did any good, though.

In late March I started high school. Clearly I wasn’t ready for high school but my age condemned me to early Greek Mythology readings that I was in no shape or form ready for. I didn’t attend school the previous five years but it didn’t matter. With less than three grade’s worth of formal schooling, I embarked on my education journey in the 9th grade. I wasn’t use to waking up early – not 5:30am for sure – in the morning. The first two months were quite tough: new country, new language, new friends to be made, and homeworks! It was quite overwhelming at times but I was determined to go through it, but more than once I though of dropping school and going into the labor force with fake documents. I didn’t. I didn’t want to disappoint my parents most of all.

I made friends quickly in my English as a Second Language (ESL) classes where students were from all over the world. From Africa, the Middle East , Eastern Europe, South America, and the Caribbean. My teachers were amazing – particularly my ESL and 9th grade English teachers. They spent countless hours explaining the smallest thing I couldn’t understand, help me with my homework, and most of all, encourage me. The transition wasn’t easy but caring teachers and good friends made it easy.

Today I sit here writing this post thinking about the kid like me who may sit in front of an interviewer tomorrow that will determine his/her entire future. Then I think about what my life would look like today if I didn’t get that chance. Perhaps already dead or carrying an AK-47 for some godforsaken warlord? I’m glad I didn’t go that route which millions of children unfortunately end up.

Categories: Education, Travel | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

Conditions of Somali Refugee Camps in Kenya

Categories: East Africa, Somalia | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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