I went to the Pelum Cinema House to watch a movie about resettlement for refugees involving I.R.C. there was also a Syrian refugee who came to talk about his immigration process to the US in Westchester. The only reason I was at the Pelum Cinema House was because the Students For Refugees club at Scarsdale high school. The Syrian refugee was very kind, and answered all the questions asked to him. At the end it was an open house, asking questions. Some of the questions asked were from my original interview questions. Here are some of the questions asked.
Did you encounter any Smugglers during your journey of coming to the US?
How can we, the people that want to help, help?
Was there any idea in your mind that told yourself I want to keep going?
These are only a few of the questions asked but he gave very detailed answers to these.
The movie was about Syrian refugees settling into a new home and learning how to drive, speak English, navigate the culture, and how to buy foods at a grocery store, basically learning about the necessities of living in the US.
Some of the most interesting moments in the movie were when the kids, probably just under 6, were they were so scarred by the experience of living in a war zone that they talked about how one of their dolls was scared of the bombings and the other liked chocolate. Another was when one woman said that she was really skilled in her country as a doctor but a rule that the government enforces “when a refugee is offered a job the first job that is offered the refugee has to take.” and the first job this doctor was offered was the job of a toilet cleaner. The last interesting moment that I will tell you about is when I saw the refugees learning English they looked so happy. They were having fun and they had just learned that their dreams had been crushed but they were very positive and I will always look up to that.
My interview with Wahiba Khabood was really interesting. I learned a lot about her that I didn’t know before and found that there were two sides to her one that I had known before the interview and one that I discovered after. The side that I recently found out about had to whole history to it. This side was one out of three of the lives that Wahiba Khabood had. In the book Refugee by Alan Grant, Alan talks about how a refugee has three lives. The first life is the life that they had in their home country. The second life is the life that they have when they travel to a new country and the third life is the life that they make for themselves in the new country.
The interview didn’t feel like an interview it felt like a talk and a reconnection. I personally know Wahiba as a kind and caring person and if she hadn’t told me that she was a Syrian refugee I would have never guessed that she lived through such a horrific experience. When she was living with us I remember her going into her and crying a lot but after this interview I understand why. In the end I found out that Wahiba successfully and legally was one of the fortunate few that took an airplane to the UK.
Later I will be interviewing Wahiba Khabood, a woman who fled the Syrian civil war and ran to the UK. I know Wahiba because she lived with my family for almost six months, not in scarsdale, but in London.She has a very interesting story from what I know of her and I am exciting to interview her because she has a backstory full of action.
I will be interviewing her on the phone and will record the whole conversation. Here are the questions I will be asking Wahiba:
- Where did you come from originally?
- Why did you have to leave your country?
- Why did you choose to come to the UK?
- Can you describe what it was like living during the civil war?
- What were your thoughts and feelings when you had to leave your family/country behind?
- Could you describe the process of coming to the UK?
- Did you ever encounter any smugglers during your journey?
- Who was the first person that you met when you immigrated?
- Did you know any English before you came?
- Where did you go when you first came to the UK?
- What were your thoughts and feeling when you crossed the border?
- What countries did you go though to get to England?
- How has the violence going on in your country had an impact on your life?
- What were the toughest challenges that you faced concerning the new language?
- When were you most scared during your journey?
Wahiba’s story is important because she’s a refugee and has been through so much trauma and hardships just to get to UK, another democracy like ours in the US.
We were told to come up with a main inquiry question. The goal of the entire Capstone project is not to put random bits of information together, but to answer the main inquiry question. Personally my main inquiry question is: What is the history of the Syrian refugee crisis, how has it impacted the children and involved what can people do to help? My first inquiry question was too political for school because I could have offended someone else with different beliefs.
We were also told to come up with 5 sub questions, sub questions are follow up questions that help to answer the main inquiry question, and I came up with 5 so here they are:
- What caused the Syrian War?
- What are the most important events of the refugee crisis?
- What are some stories of the children that have been affected by the war?
- What countries and humanitarian groups have helped refugees the most? How?
- What can people do to help refugees?
At Heathcote school in Mrs. Edwards’ fifth grade class, Mrs. Edwards is having her students do the ultimate information research project of elementary school: Capstone. Capstone is a project were the student chooses a topic that they enjoy and learns more about that topic. Her students have two months to do this project. The project includes: three web-based sources, one database source, one print source, one interview and one site visit. At the end of the project the student’s knowledge and hard work get put to use, and each student has to put together a whole Ted Talk or an Ignite Presentation with the theme of the topic that the student has studied.
Personally, I’m doing the topic of “Refugees & Homelessness” because I thankfully have had the opportunity to be in the presence of both a refugee and a homeless person, and I had very much enjoyed talking to them about their past and what they want to do with their life in the future.
Azmara was a refugee from Eritrea who lived with us for nine months while we were in London. Even though Azmara had had a difficult life, Azmara was always the happiest person in the room and always had a smile on her face for proof.
Ali was a homeless person that I met at an event Hitchcock church where we made food and delivered it to the homeless in Manhattan. Ali had a lot of opinions about the world that he wanted to change but was not able to. He told me to fight for my beliefs, and he told the boy standing next to me to become an all star basketball player. I was struck by how self-less Ali was.