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The United Nations estimates that every day
32,200 men, women and children are forced out of their homes. They look for refuge in another place.
"If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make
the world safe for diversity." John F. Kennedy
|Jaimie Arrow Quiver
|Over dinner in the comfort of a restaurant in Overland Park, Kansas, Pia began her story.
It was terrible.
Pia grew up thousands of miles from where we
sat eating. Her appearance and mannerisms did not betray the horror she had witnessed. She described a quiet evening, similar
to what we were experiencing that evening. Quite suddenly her village was attacked by armed men. Some villagers, including
the then thirteen-year-old Pia, ran into the dark woods around the village where she watched as the men set fire to her
home and tortured and killed her family members. Some women, including her sister were raped and then killed. When
dawn came, the men had gone, the village ruins were smoking, and only a few villagers remained. Pia knew she had to get away.
Pia had an aunt in the
U.S. She did not find any relatives alive and so she began to walk. As she walked away from her home, she realized the dangers
from the men who still roamed the area. She hid from them during the daylight and traveled alone in the dark of night. Pia
described tripping over bodies in the dark. The risks were grave, but she found the courage to walk night after night for
more than a week toward the border, hoping to cross over and find a way to the U.S. and safety.
Pia made her way across the border
and crossed the ocean to the U.S. where she found her aunt and developed a normal life. Pia overcame the horrors she
experienced by holding onto one dream, one goal- get to safety, get to freedom, get to America. Pia was not just a dreamer,
she was and is a doer. Now in her thirties and a teacher, Pia is a refugee. SLeeMD
More about local refugees...
You may want to see this full version of a Superbowl Commercial on immigrants
every refugee’s story is different and their anguish personal, they all share a common thread of uncommon courage –
the courage not only to survive, but to persevere and rebuild their shattered lives.”
Antonio Guterres, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees
|Fredo Franzoni - Belgian refugees arriving in US 1915
|Ahmet Asar - Kurdish refugees 2013
“...families on the run are shattered by
something other than just grenades. The flight and fear tears us apart and those parts land in all kinds of places - we don't
even know where.”
- Henning Mankell
"No one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer
than the land.
one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.”
- Warsan Shire
Throughout human history and during the history of the United States,
immigration has been fueled by natural and manmade disasters. The US and Kansas City have hosted refugees. Wyandotte County
came to be through immigration of abolitionists and was an important part of the underground railroad hosting slaves immigrating/escaping
before and during the US Civil War. "Boat People" referred to people coming to the US from Germany in the 1880's,
Belgium in 1915, from Vietnam in 1978, and other mass flows of immigration. It also has referred to refugees from China, from
Myanmar- the Rohingya people and during the past year from Syria. Kansas City, Kansas has welcomed people from Afghanistan,
Bhutan, Burma, Burundi, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal, Myanmar, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and many hostile places from all
over the world. They make their home here now.
|Peter Klashorst Boat People Rohingya
Family Health Care (and Dr. Lee- specially trained in forensic evaluation)
has provided refugee services for many years. Direct health services include evaluations for TB, vaccinations and other preventative/wellness
services. FHC also provides medical care, including for infectious diseases and other longer term illnesses such as depression,
etc. An important service is our evaluations for refugees that have endured mistreatment and are seeking asylum in our country.