Newsletter – Quarterly Report 4

Cooking Home I land in a country I barely speak its language. All I know is one person: Paola Pollmeier. I had been able to leverage a contact from Germany working in the gastronomical sector to connect me with her. We worked in Moravia, Medellin, which is a comuna (neighborhood) that has had a violent history. Its houses had been built with Pablo Escobar’s money in an effort to buy these persons’ votes, and long after his death it continued to be treated as the garbage-place of the city. There is even a mountain of flowers in one part of … Continue reading Newsletter – Quarterly Report 4

Newsletter – Quarterly Report 3

“Seeds of Hope: Creating a Future in the Shadows” (2019) talks about the opportunities refugees and immigrants alike create in Canada, one of the countries that is famed to have a “golden standard” for asylum-seekers. But late April, legal assistance in Ontario became unavailable – asylum-seekers now need to find and pay lawyers on their own. Empathy has become a more scarce currency in the hailed country. One paragraph etches itself onto my memory: “If ‘home is where the heart is’ / When was the last time I went home?” I ask myself the same question; in my homeland, I … Continue reading Newsletter – Quarterly Report 3

Newsletter – Quarterly Report 2

“We Nubians baptize our children in the Nile. Our ancestors offered goods to the Nile fairy. We understand its waves. It’s an indispensable part of our lives.” —Mr. Mohamed, Nubian Elder in Elephantine Island Before 1964, there were around 50 Nubian villages in Upper Egypt. Only 7 remain after the building of the High Dam. Mr. Mohamed accompanies me into a room inside his house-museum (Animalia). The floor is intensely blue, like water, and a soft sand color embellishes the outskirts of the bottom walls. Animals adorn every inch of the space. “This is lake Nasser; a place inhabited by … Continue reading Newsletter – Quarterly Report 2

Migration Subtitles / اللجوء للسينما، ال(أي أو إم) بيتكلم مصري

The International Organization of Migration (IOM) hosted the Global Migration Film Festival in Cairo and many other major cities. I sought this opportunity to cultivate conversations about migration and refugees. Many organizations deploy film to stir hearts, to show different facets of life, and to develop a better understanding of migrants’ realities. IOM writes in its brochure: “Cinema and migration have a magical bond stretching back over a century ago when filmmakers themselves, began making movies that depicted the world on the move.” Each of the films was hosted at an esteemed institution – Goethe Institute, Zawya, Greek Cultural Center, … Continue reading Migration Subtitles / اللجوء للسينما، ال(أي أو إم) بيتكلم مصري

Concealing Accents / The ج

Languages connect us – and often literally reveal our nationalities. In Jordan, an Egyptian accent is quite distinct because of a single letter: the ج. Ours is a little rougher, like a slight choke sound, while the Levants pronounce it like a “Je,” almost like the French I. Till this day, it is obscure how Egyptians learned this accent, but it has been proposed that Yemenis brought it to our beloved nation. But what happens if you try to conceal this accent? I found out first-hand in Jordan that it’s quite difficult. Imitating accents can be easy, but if your tongue … Continue reading Concealing Accents / The ج

Newsletter – Quarterly Report 1

Before my months in Jordan, I intended to collaborate with the UNHCR in Djibouti, visiting the three refugee camps there that offer little other than shelter. But I was refused entry and had to essentially be treated like I was going to seek asylum. Therefore, my passport was held a hostage; I walked after it, asking at every stage when it would be returned. I knew English. I could ask the staff. Imagine how it feels to be stranded as an actual refugee in an airport without being able to communicate. When I arrived back in the States, I chose … Continue reading Newsletter – Quarterly Report 1

Midnight Thoughts on Home

Despite all this time, I still wonder: what does it mean to be uprooted? To lose everything? To become desolate and desperate? It perhaps means that life has become too unbearable, with its reality crushing your dreams and aspirations. Always longing. It might take the form of robbing one of mothers and fathers, reminding one of forgotten brother and sisters – and maybe it’s simply one becoming too broken. An abyss too crippling. Maybe home is where one can find dignity. Home is where one can be legal, where one’s thoughts don’t constitute treason. Home is where your feet feel … Continue reading Midnight Thoughts on Home

Newsletter – September, 2018

September, 2018 – Newsletter In these newsletters, published every month, I will attempt to recount updates about featured situations in the current crisis. For a more complete overview of other situations, please scroll to the bottom of the article.  Here, you can quickly learn about news reports to be an informed person about the most recent developments. Syria: Syrians continue to suffer at the hands of both Asaad- and rebel- groups – becoming either internally displaced or fleeing refugees in the process. Below are three important essays displaying current developments and pertinent news questions. Turkey Stands Between Europe and the … Continue reading Newsletter – September, 2018

One step closer / حلم معلمة فصل

She had one class left to graduate. But in that year, the war became unbearable – and the family was forced to flee. Jomana has a warm smile fit for a future teacher. Her eyes lit when I asked her why she wanted to become a teacher since the pay is usually terrible and children are more often than not difficult. In paraphrase, Jomana answered that she loves children! Especially 4th graders. They have so much energy, potential, and charisma – they haven’t learned yet how to distrust the world. She loves designing games and telling stories and already does … Continue reading One step closer / حلم معلمة فصل

Elusive Dreams / أحلام ضائعة

Near Jerash Camp, this scenery is pervasive – and absolutely beautiful. Rania rapped with confidence – in Jordanian, Egyptian, and Palestinian. She spoke of prisons, living proudly as a Palestinian woman, and the mixed life of being a refugee. Mohsen proclaimed we would be playing “musical chairs” – a game I vaguely remember as a child but can instantly recognize how it made me feel by the excited faces upon its mention. Shams still wanted to learn – she even wanted to teach others the little English I had written on the board. I, My; He, his; She, hers; They, … Continue reading Elusive Dreams / أحلام ضائعة