A refugee is a person who has forcefully fled his/her country due to violence, war, or persecution (USA for UNHCR, 2018). The individual seeks refuge in a foreign country because of fear of persecution due to race, nationality, religion, political opinion, or any other forms of personal orientation. Syria, South Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Myanmar (Burma) have the highest number of refugees worldwide. Burma was once a resource-rich and fertile nation, but the status steadily waned, and the area began to be considered one of the least developed countries in the world today (Barron et al., 2007). The unstable economy is also accompanied by an acute refugee crisis with over 500,000 refugees in the neighboring countries, including India, Malaysia, Thailand, and Bangladesh.
Burma is a diverse country consisting of various ethnic groups, including Burmans, the Karens, and the Chin. The ethnic diversity instigated constant geopolitical struggles such as Anglo-Burmese wars, England’s colonization that utilized the “divide and rule” law, and the World War II among others (Barron et al., 2007). The constant feuds and the economic hardship forced many people, including students, politicians, and intellectuals to start fleeing the country in the 1990s. Their forceful movement qualifies the mentioned people as refugees. At the Burma border or in the refugee camps in host countries, this group of people experiences hunger, infections such as malaria, safety threats, unemployment, inadequate education opportunities, separation from families, imprisonment, interrogation, and trauma and depression (Barron et al., 2007). In the host countries, including the U.S., the refugees receive necessary support like food, shelter clothing, education, and even employment.
Poem about Food in a Refugee Camp
Human beings eat a lot of things, but people should not be one of them,
Our bellies, no matter how full today, would need some food tomorrow,
At home food was routine, three or four times a day,
But times changed and many things rearranged,
Here in the sprawling tents, regularly blows a wind of hunger,
But the aroma of food is far from near,
Getting a meal a day is miraculous if not luck,
We don't care about forks, spoons, and cutlery as it was at home,
We crave for any edible stuff to clutch with our fingers,
And push down the throat, to quell the unforgiving hunger pangs
The Experience of a 15-year Old Female Refugee
Being separated from my family has been the hardest experience ever. Sometimes I wish I had the power to restore peace and order in my country so that I can go back to be with my people. Life is not easy being away from the closest family members who were my source of joy, peace, and happiness. I admire my friends who have their families here. Their presence makes the experiences in this camp less painful. I have fallen ill several times, but I have no one to cry to; I only rely on the help of strangers who do not bother about my emotional pain. I sometimes wish these people could nurse me like my mum used to do. I do not have options of special diets whenever I crave for them, and I miss my mum's delicious foods that would soothe my sour taste buds whenever I fell sick.
I long for the day I will reunite with my people. I know my people miss me too. It hurts not knowing their current condition since I was taken away from them. I fear that the chaos back in my home country might have harmed them, but I hope and pray that they are alive. I strongly believe that one day I will reunite with them.