Journey to Refuge: Understanding Refugees, Exploring Trauma, and Best Practices for Newcomers and Schools
About ten years ago, I began to think about how much struggle there seemed to be in the world. As I watched national cable news, I saw the real struggles of people around the world. I grew restless and I began to feel guilty that my own life, while not the life of a debutant but rather the life of a farm girl with patches on the knees of my blue jeans, had been so easy and charmed. I began to feel a sense of responsibility that I needed to do something, anything, to help with some of the world’s suffering. I pondered these things often, sometimes as I stood in line at Starbucks for my $4.00 cup of coffee, sometimes while loading my grocery cart full of the best and most beautiful produce available, sometimes while taking my children shopping for new shoes or a new toy, and on many other occasions. I heard friends or moms at the school where I taught standing around excitedly admiring their new purses and asking how much they cost (A staggering four digits!). I finally decided to get out of the zone of comfort I had lived in most of my life. While I wouldn’t ride a roller coaster, I ventured to far off places and did ride a large bus up a one lane dirt road winding around the side of a mountain, maneuvering hairpin turns in the Andes to go to communities where the Quechua people lived. While no one in my family could talk me into riding the roller coaster at the big theme park where we lived in a suburb of Dallas, Texas, I walked red dirt paths in a rural area of Uganda as men, crowded in the backs of trucks and carrying guns, drove past me, fogging me with fine dirt while yelling at me. I began to open my eyes. I saw things I do not want to write about here and I experienced things that were so dangerous I shouldn’t have survived them – this is true, but this is another book.
SOURCE: Trina Harlow. “Journey to Refuge: Understanding Refugees, Exploring Trauma, and Best Practices for Newcomers and Schools.” Kansas State University, 2019.
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia