Refugee simulation shows difficulties facing those leaving their home country

Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 10:38 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A group had the chance Thursday to learn how many different challenges refugees face when trying to flee their worn-torn country.

People started off wearing blindfolds to simulate the representation of war as people searched for their families and gathered what belongings they could find before heading to the imaginary border. Carry Miller of Cedar Rapids was one of them.

“It was a little bit scary and disorienting,” Miller said. “We figured out quickly not to trust anyone.”

The group then went through a process to gain refugee status; they had to go through the process to gain documentation, healthcare, education, and nutrition. It was a process Benedicte Chubaka of the Catherine McAuley Center.

“We went to Gonzonia, we went to Kenya, Zambia, and then Uganda, through the 11-year course to the United States,” she said.

Chubaka has been in the US for 11 years. While the simulation was a fun experience, it was designed to show the challenges she and so many others have and will experience.

“The trauma that’s not talked about,” she said. “Your mental health is affected, and you’re not sure what’s wrong, but you know something is wrong. It’s a traumatic experience.”

A chance she said to make communities more welcoming to refugees trying to make a new community, home.

“I think sometimes we’re quick to judge, and you don’t know what someone’s going through,” said Miller. “It was experiencing how scary it was.”