This assignment brings back memories of the refugee camps on the Kenyan border where we have a lot of Somali and Eritrean refugees. They actually have to wait to be resettled by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to countries that are willing to take them The wait sometimes takes years and they don’t get to choose the country of resettlement.
The items I would choose to take with me as a refugee are the family photo album, one traditional dress and my rosary. The family photo album has pictures of four generations of family members. The traditional dress would help me remember the good times because most Kenyans wear the traditional dress for happy events such as weddings, engagements, christenings. The rosary means a lot to me as a catholic and is a source of peace and meditation.
If upon arrival to my host country I was told that I could only have one item, I would choose the family photo album because it would keep all my family memories alive. The dress would not matter because I could get another one made and the rosary is something every practicing catholic has memorized over time. The beads are for guidance and focus and so not having them does not affect prayer.
This exercise has made me first and foremost, so much more aware of what the refugees go through. Secondly, I realize the importance of family and how important it is to me, and I also realize that we must always be open to cultural differences and embrace diversity, because our borders are shrinking due to immigration and migration making our countries become more and more culturally and linguistically diverse.