The refugees on my street corner. I ain’t talking about the rap group, I’m talkin’ about real ones, from Somalia… just chillin’ on the corner of my street. I’m not sure if they sleep there, because they’re gone when I leave for work in the morning, but they do have blankets. I guess it makes sense, because the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (Somalia Mission) is just down the street. I’m not sure why I’ve never seen them until recently, because my new apartment is just a block from my old place. Lately I’ve even seen them cooking food on wood fires. It’s obviously very awkward for me when I walk by them because I usually have a big bag of groceries.
In addition to the UNHCR, there’s an International Organization of Migration office around the corner, which I’ve long assumed was the reason 50% of the people I see when walking to the bus stop in the morning are Somali women covered from head to toe in hijab (the men, however, are wearing the latest in trendy fashion). I wish I knew more about these organizations, like: what is the probability of repatriation for refugees? Are there any criteria, maybe something which could disqualify you? Which country do most of them go to?
Update, January 28th: I heard the people speaking Swahili today, which leads me to believe they’re from Congo or Rwanda — that’s not to say that Somalis can’t speak Swahili, but Somali Swahili doesn’t sound like the one I heard! I still don’t have any insight as to why they are there.