Refugee Perspectives: Treacherous Travel
Written by Melissa Dalton-Bradford
Since I started learning from refugees, I haven’t been able to travel (as I’m doing right now) without thinking of my refugee friends.
When I traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah in the western US, I flew. When I traveled from Utah to California—-crossing scorching, punishing desert—-I drove. I drove across borders without danger, with no fanfare. I had air conditioning and a reclining seat. And I loaded up the back hatch with everything my family and I might need that a gas station wouldn’t provide.
My refugee friends, on the other hand, walked. Many walked for weeks and months from Afghanistan to the shores of Turkey (the distance from NYC to Seattle) crossing borders patrolled by police or vigilantes who waited with machine guns aimed to kill.
They trudged across deserts.
They hiked alp-like mountain ranges.
They forded rivers.
They hid in forests.
They crawled through brush.
They burned under August sun.
Then they hit coastline.
They paid smugglers.
They crammed onto inflatable rafts.
The lucky ones arrived in Greece.
Then they walked again.
Need I paint the picture? We’ve all seen the photos. We know.
But do we?
Did you know that by the time these refugees had found their way to Frankfurt, they had walked a distance equivalent to the trek from NYC to Houston and back up to Seattle?
No? Neither did I.
USAHello.org and Welcome.US: Two Helpful Online Tools for our Refugee Friends and U.S. Locals who are Welcoming them
Resettling into a new country can be more challenging when you don't know where to turn for help. USAHello.org makes information and resources available to those who have newly arrived in the United States. Welcome.US matches resettlement agencies' in-kind needs with businesses and community leaders who want to help.
As of 31 December 2021, more than 52,000 Afghan evacuees have been resettled in communities across the country. These resettlement efforts are led by the Department of State in close coordination with more than 290 local resettlement affiliates. The remaining approximately 22,500 vulnerable Afghans await resettlement at 5 military bases in the U.S.
TUNE IN JAN 6 & JAN 19 FOR INFO ON HOW YOU CAN HELP IN YOUR AREA.