Stina Kielsmeier-Cook has more than 12 years of experience working with refugee communities and has a graduate degree in Forced Migration and Refugee Studies from the American University in Cairo. She lives in Minneapolis where she blogs at stinakc.com and tweets @stina_kc.
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Longing for Resettlement
In Dadaab refugee camp, a researcher recorded a Somali term for the particular feeling of longing for resettlement: buufis, “a kind of depression rooted in an inextinguishable hope for a life elsewhere that simultaneously casts the present into shadow.”
I Used to Screen Somali Refugees. Here's Why Trump's Latest Statements Are Wrong.
For years after my experience working with UNHCR, I struggled with secondary trauma, with the heavy weight of so many terrible stories swirling in my mind, causing flashbacks, numbness, and anger. As UNHCR resettlement worker, I made decisions about the lives of war survivors and afterward I couldn’t shake the weight of power I wielded in that tiny interview room. But simply being a neighbor, a person who returns wrongly delivered mail and waves from across our picket fence, a person who delivers cookies at Christmas time and receives piping hot sambusas in return, has been healing for me. I count it as one of my life’s greatest joys to live next door to my Somali neighbors.