Nuer Refugees from Sudan

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Imagine being dropped off in a foreign place where you have never been before or even heard of. You have been dropped off with nothing but the clothes on your back and barely speak a word of the language that is spoken there. This is how the Nuer feel when then go to the United States from Sudan for more freedom. Sure the United States may have more opportunities for a better life than Sudan, but it comes with a lot of life-changing events and challenges that the Nuer must face daily. In Nuer Journeys Nuer Lives, Jon Holtzman discusses the challenges the Nuer face and how they overcome them once they have been kicked out of their homes and immigrate to Minnesota in the United States.

The journey of the Nuer to the United States began when their homeland was invaded by war between the North and South Sudanese. Nuer would explain how their homes would become the battlefields of the War in Southern Sudan. It was the battle between the government and the rebels. No one could side with either side and you could not remain neutral because one side would make the assumptions that you are taking the side of the dominant force in your homeland area. Most Nuer believed that the rebel forces were more the troublemakers to their homeland than the government was (17). Now this became the first challenge that the Nuer had to overcome and that was the leave everything they ever owned in their homeland and move on to the refugee camps, which were scattered all over Africa.

Moving to a refugee camp from your home was a tough thing to do. Moving between camps was even tougher. However, the toughest thing actually had to be to live in a refugee camp. The conditions in theses camps were unbearable and make it difficult to make it from one day to the next. Most Nuer found this to be such a challenge of their daily lives, yet they knew that there were better days to come and tried their best to make it through these horrible camp conditions. It was not just 100 Nuer at each camp it was more like 10,000 people living in these camps in tents all within close areas of one another. All there was to eat were small amounts of grain, milk, meat, and vegetables. Due to everyone living in a close area of one another and not having adequate bathing facilities it was quite common to catch disease from one another. Furthermore, there was inadequate medical care so one someone transmitted a disease it was very difficult to get rid of it and cure it. In addition to poor diet and poor health, there was a lack of physical security and education (20). It was daily challenge just to try and stay alive at one of these camps. Most would try to stay alive in order to move on to the resettlement process, which would bring them closer to the United States.

The resettlement process was very tiresome as well as time consuming. Some would wait weeks; others would wait to years just to get through this process. So from abandoning their homes to passing the resettlement process, it could take several years to make it over to the United States. The resettlement process consisted of several steps with the screening interview being the first step. This interview was to see if the person taking the interview met the actual requirements of gaining refugee status. One could not just say they wanted status because their homes were invaded by war it had to be more reasonable than an answer of that sort. The definition of a refugee "is an alien outside the United States who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her country because of well-founded fear of persecution" (26). Most would say the interview was the most difficult part of this process due to the fact that it was done in a foreign language and made it difficult to answer their questions (24). The second step of the resettlement process was to provide detailed information about your family in terms of how old they were, what their names were, their gender, where they were located at that time period, and...
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