I am currently reading Making Refuge: Somali Bantu Refugees and Lewiston, Maine. This book follows the unlikely story of few Somali minority individuals who their lives were demolished by civil war and direct discrimination against their people. In a small village called Banta, Catherine L. Besteman did her fieldwork in the late 1980s before the civil war destroyed the village and hundreds lost their lives.
This book follows the unlikely reunion of Besteman and few of the Banta residents who now are refugees in Lewiston, ME. As I read this book, I find myself imagining the lives of the people of Banta before things were a mess, when Somalia was stable, and recollecting the happier moments that my mom always talks about when she refers to anything before the civil war. Refugees are looked at as crisis, not as human beings that have stories, dreams and lives before the war. The more I read the stories of the people of Banta, the more I want to share similar personal stories of Somali refugees in the US. Some of the Banta residents are moving from other areas of the US to relocate in Lewiston, ME. I want to study if there is a similar trend of why people are moving away from their original resettlement homes to places like Maine.
This book is a good resource, but I still need a lot more data to track the second migration of the Somali refugees in the US. I am also not clear what mapping tool I am using to visually present my data. Those are some of the main things I still need to figure out.
As I get started, I really want to do justice of presenting and telling the stories of people, not only as unfortunate refugees, but also as individuals with passion and goals to achieve who find themselves in unfortunate situations. I hope this project humanizes the struggles of refugees and sheds some light on difficulties refugees face when they are resettled to foreign countries.