Story of an Immigrant
The focus of this paper is Shimma. His tribal home is in Sudan. He is believed to be 21 and has resided as a refugee in the USA since August 2001. He is known as a “Lost Boy of Sudan.”
I met Shimma while shopping at Wal-Mart in central Phoenix. I had been fascinated by the reports of the Lost Boys that I had heard on TV and read in the newspapers. I knew that some of the Lost Boys were being relocated to Phoenix and hoped to meet some of them along the way on my travels through out Phoenix. I had seen them at bus stops and around the city walking. They have a very distinctive appearance, not your typical African-Americans. They are tall and thin with high cheekbones and dark black skin tone.
While shopping at Wal-Mart I rounded a corner and there he stood tall, dark and smiling. I got excited about finally meeting one of the Lost Boys and began to ramble. I introduced myself and inquired into his status as one of the Lost Boys. He introduced himself and confirmed that he was indeed one of the Lost Boys I had been reading and hearing about. I asked him for an interview and he offered his name and telephone number. I repeatedly tried to contact him and weeks later he agreed to meet me at a local restaurant. The day of our interview after many phone calls he arrived over an hour late, which I accounted for as cultural time difference. Shimma is a very busy man. He works at Wal-Mart and attends ESL classes two days a week at Phoenix Community College.
Much of our study in this anthropology class has centered on voluntary immigration due to economic circumstances. Shimma did not migrate for economic reasons, he is a refugee seeking safety and sanctuary from his war ravaged country. The book that we read in class about refugees was a case study that considered the plight of the Hmong in Wisconsin. The Hmong are refugees from Laos who fled after US forces pulled out of the Vietnam War. I also read a book about the Hmong that dealt with a case study in California and a little girl of Hmong descent that encountered great difficulties with the medical institutions after she was diagnosed with Epilepsy. This book The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down is a great study in the difficulties present in refugee communities in the US…
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