What is Life in a Refugee Camp?
But many of them choose to stay in the camps, preparing to relocate in a yet another country. Many of them end up in St. Paul, Minnesota in my classroom. In fact, one of the reasons I wanted to visit Timai was to meet my student’s families.
It was absolutely mind-blowing to duck into a thatched bamboo hut and see an older version of my student’s face staring back at me. Purna’s entire extended family crowded into his mom’s hut, all the better to take photos and eat sweet sticky rice. Of Purna’s 20 relatives that I met, 12 of them are heading to St. Paul, Minnesota in February. So I obviously spent twenty minutes expressing shock over this and acting out how I’d freak out over seeing them on the street in St. Paul. They nodded sagely at this and admitted that yep, that’d be weird.
I spent the rest of my time at the camp leading orientations, teaching mini English classes, talking to people about which jobs they could get with their current training and addressing concerns like “American women are so tall! How am I ever going to find a wife there?! Everyone will think I’m a dwarf, right?”
I had a fantastic time meeting new people, talking to them about their lives and doing my little part to make the transition to their new lives easier.
Have you ever stayed some placed really, really rustic? Once I slept in a Bolivian barn on a bed made of sticks – but that was a one-night gig!