Dianna Shandy "The Road to Refugee Resettlement"
The author in the very beginning mentions how we tend to label anyone who comes to the United States from other countries an immigrant. We fail to realize that people have different reasons due to which they choose to leave their home country. All of them have their own story and hopes and beliefs and dreams. Yes, some of them will happen to be similar but what this essay made me realize is that if you start listening you will begin to see the differences. Refugees are immigrants in a sense, but they come to the United States and other countries not simply out of a desire for a better life but because it is very difficult for them to continue living in their home country.
Reading about Thok Ding, I could not help but admire the courage he had to leave his family. Not only to come to the United States but to travel across Africa from one refugee camp to the next. Dianna Shandy clearly describes how difficult it is for a refugee to adapt to a different environment and how quickly they are forced to do it. The author’s essay also showed how important the work of the United Nations and volunteer groups is in helping refugees begin a new and hopefully better life. When Thok Ding came to a completely new country the volunteer took him into his home, and the organization found him and apartment and job. Without these people the transition would have been much more difficult.
It was interesting to me to see the analogy between the Nuer’s nomadic lifestyle in Sudan and in the United States. The Nuer people easily relocated from state to state as it was convenient for them. Many people I know are not as willing to move to a different place even if they do not have family ties where they are. They simply are used to the place they live and do not deal well with change. The Nuer people spent most of their lives moving with their cattle from low to high ground and back. So, they are more accustomed to changing conditions and less permanent homes. Overall, Ms. Shandy’s account of Thok Ding’s experience really touched me and introduced me to the difficulties faced by refugees. It amazed me how determined this person is in creating a better life not only for him, but his family.
Shandy, Dianna. “The Road to Refugee Resettlement". In Conformity and Conflict: Readings in Cultural Anthropology, 12 ed., ed. Spradley and McCurdy. Allyn & Bacon, 2008, 151-160.