Our Language is slow

Our Language is slow. Our stories are not.

We had the chance to meet so many people on our trip. For security reasons, I am not allowed to use their real names or post their pictures online. I hope this will do for now...

First of all, the definition of a refugee has three requirements:
1. A person who has left their home country...
2. They are unwilling to return because of a legitimate fear...
3. of persecution (a proven identifiable group). (Because I am a...)

This all sounds simple enough. The truth is, gaining UN refugee status is a slow process and could take years. The trouble is, Thailand is the easiest to get into. Anyone entering the country gets a 30 day visa... BUT, Thailand doesn't recognize UN sanctioned refugees as citizens. Even with the UN refugee designation, you are illegal and, if caught, you will be thrown into the IDC (Immigration Detention Center).

We met a man from Nepal. He fled after many of his friends were killed or arrested by the Maoist regime. His fathers' shop was forced to pay high taxes to fund the war and his family was being terrorized. He fled in 2003.

We met a man from the Congo. He was a Journalist and Professor. He speaks 7 languages. The Congo has been divided by class and genocide for a long time. His brothers and sisters were killed. All of his education couldn't save him. He was forced to flee with his wife and four children.

We met a man from Vietnam. He was persecuted because he was not a member of the Communist party. He was/ is a member of a Mennonite Congregation. His wife and children are still in Cambodia. He hasn't seen them in 7 years. His phone calls and emails to them are censored.

I remember being so surprised at how every single refugee was so tied to what their governments were doing. I have no idea how to think this way. The grip of war still shows on their faces and in their posture.

More to come!