You hear the term “refugee” in the news a lot, conjuring the image of desperate people who mostly exist in our consciousness as political footballs or scapegoats (how many people do you turn away to prevent the monsters from getting in?). But whatever your opinion on refugee policy, you have to admit one thing tends to be overlooked: In many cases, what these people are doing is fucking amazing. We’re talking about people who fled a bullet-riddled hellscape, traversed the globe, and wound up in a place that to them had to seem like freaking Mars.
We talked to a guy named Abdullahi Abdi, who was born in a refugee camp 19 years ago and eventually finally made it to America. His little corner of Hell was called the Kakuma Refugee Camp. It was founded in Kenya in 1991 to help people trying to escape from the Second Sudanese Civil War. It expanded over the next 23 years and now is home to over 180,000 people from Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda, Rwanda, and more. We asked him what it was like to grow up without a country and try to then adjust to life in the USA.