In 13 Photos and a Testimony: Experiencing the Life of a Refugee

October 3, 2019 — On September 22nd, Jesuit Refugee Service Canada once again carried out A Journey Into Exile. It is an exercise which, with a somewhat playful style, seeks to help participants to immerse themselves in and experience the reality of being a refugee.  This time, the event was part of the Journées de la Paix (Days of Peace) in Montreal. 

For more details about the dynamics of the exercise, click here.

And here are some pictures of the most recent edition:

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Eleana Jaramillo, participant in the exercise, talks about her experience, which echoes that of others:

"When one faces the reality of migrants and refugees, there is real fear. But it is when I don't know, when I don't have any preparation to deal with the subject or when I'm not even interested in knowing their reality that I become the most distant and indifferent. This increases my fears and doubts.

Doing the exercise A Journey into Exile, taking on their identity, their history and path, allowed me to feel their pain and fear. To me, the game was over at the end of the session, but for other human beings, it is always part of their reality. Jesus invites us to recognize the suffering of the other and to take immediate action! A call for 'help' is what stays with me from this exercise."

Norbert Piché, Country Director of the Jesuit Refugee Service Canada, explains how the idea of these assimilation exercises came about.

"When I experienced the Kairos Blanket Exercise, which helps us feel the dispossession that the Native people of Quebec and Canada experienced, it challenged me to create something similar, to show the experience of a refugee. Too often we forget that refugees are people like you and me who have been uprooted because of a tragic situation beyond their control. So I wanted participants to put themselves in the shoes of a refugee so that we would stop judging them by what is said in the media and start treating them as we would like to be treated ourselves."





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