we are all just human beings

Every year 29,000 asylum seekers flee persecution and destruction in their homeland and arrive here in the UK. They make a perilous and often fatal journey because they are desperate and have no choice. Have you ever had a nightmare where you’re stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea and there’s no safe place to go? Well, we can wake up from it, they can’t.

They leave their country, their home, where they may have been persecuted, threatened, tortured for something that’s just part of who they are – their beliefs, their political stance, their sexuality, ethnic group or just standing up for what’s right. They may have been caught up in turmoil and violence and want to protect their family. Sometimes their only choice is to escape. Ask yourself, if you were in that situation with your family, what decision would you make?

They brave a hard, dangerous and dehumanising journey which, in reality, many don’t survive, to reach the UK – my country.

When they arrive they are often met with hostility, prejudice and a system that seems set up against them.

Why is that? Why are we so convinced that these people have come here to take something from us? Do we ever consider what they might have to give? Why do we assume that they’re here because it’s an easy option? Maybe it’s their only option. Why are we convinced that they’re all bad and they’re all the same? Is that because we only listen to the lies the media tell us and are too afraid of what we don’t know to find out for ourselves?

Mark, Sarah and lots of volunteers run The Sanctuary project at The Gap Centre in Newport city centre (South Wales). They’re providing constant support and a sense of community and belonging to all asylum seekers. They invited me and my family to go along for the day, help out and spend some time with everyone.

First Mark took us on a tour of Newport, we could hardly walk ten steps without Mark stopping to chat to someone he knew from the centre, shaking hands, introducing us, asking them if they were coming for food later.

Once back, we were put to work moving tables, sorting through donations of books and cleaning bathrooms. We then all sat and chatted and ate and played card games before heading off to play badminton.

The whole time, we were made so welcome by everyone. Whether it was the guy who made the effort to teach me how to serve in badminton, even though I was useless (I got it down to a fine art in the end), the guy who took great pleasure in giving my brother Evan a traditional Kurdish haircut, everyone who sat and talked and made an effort to engage with us even though we didn’t always speak the same language, everyone who told us about their lives, their families and their culture. Even though you may feel you already know it, the whole afternoon just made us realise that we really are all just human beings – we all feel pain, we can all smile, we all have hopes and dreams.

I genuinely feel like I made friends. And I had so much fun, playing Uno and badminton and hanging out with all these people of all different cultures and backgrounds. Since when did different become bad? Different is amazing. We can learn so much from different. Different is just…different – not better or worse.

Thank you so much to Mark for inviting us and for telling us about all the incredible work that The Sanctuary do and for letting us get involved. Also thanks to everyone who welcomed us and made us feel like part of the family. All the best to all of you for the future ❤

What are your thoughts? Have you ever found yourself with a different perspective on something after spending time with people you wouldn’t usually hang out with?

 

 

26 thoughts on “we are all just human beings

  1. zakly, different is AMAZING. tbh, what is normal? bc we all come across different to each other. i’m so glad you’re learning about all the different cultures and you’re being shown so much hospitality. it’s wonderful that you’re making so many new friends xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Eeeeeeeeee what was that? The sound of Jade having a mental brake down because this was just sksksksk sksksk sksksk I can’t breath. Gracie!!! As someone who has refugee familey members in Europe this hits home.
    As you know, i was in Germany this summer and it broke my heart seeing these people being treated as less than human. How could you? Well not you but you get what I mean. In places like South London, and CALI

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jade can you hear me??? Pls don’t dieeeeee haha. Anyway I’m glad you liked this ❤ I was so inspired to write it.

      I know it's crazy how hostile people can be. And how ignorant!! I think we're just afraid of what we don't know and too scared to go find out. Also the portrayal of asylum seekers in the media is so negative and that's not what's I experienced AT ALL

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m okay ahaha but it’s not fair at all. We’ve never done anything wrong. I’m brown and it’s not my fault if I’m looking for a home. I wish i could work with you’ll

        Like

  3. preach it gracie. preach it.

    i come from the immigrant side of things, which is different, and maybe in some way, similar, because you *choose* to come to a country that doesn’t understand your culture or your customs or your life or even your skin tone and it hits hard– but how much more when you didn’t want to leave your country? when you didn’t want to leave home? thank you for putting this up there and saying something. more people need to hear it *fist bumps*

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Jo. I always find your posts about your experience of immigration really fascinating. It must be so tough, but I believe that all countries are beautiful bc they have their own identity and culture, but are also a mixmatch (is that even a word??) of all different incomers and immigrants who all have something to give ❤ thank you for this comment. *fist bump and hugs*

      Liked by 1 person

  4. GRACIEEE <333
    aww yess this is beautiful 🙌 oh my goodness we can learn so many things from people we wouldn't usually hang out with! our church has a ministry at the veterans home and it's always so cool to go and talk with all the elderly people there. what teenager would ever choose to hang out with them? but it's actually such a cool experience.
    i love hearing all about your travels!!
    ok this is rly random but your eyes are so pretty omgshh 💙
    yess evan the haircut 👌🏼 way to go for it dude
    keep enjoying yourself and making a difference!

    Liked by 1 person

    • ISABELLLL
      Thank you so much, your comments are always amazing. I know, sometimes we can get SO much from spending time with people who have a different perspective on life. We’ve just got to step outside our comfort zone.
      Awhhh thank you ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. prEACH girl preach!!
    this needs to be heard everywhere right now because.. it’s all over the news, and so many people think of refugees as cunning masterminds trying to steal their jobs- but that’s not even the case. they’re just trying to escape whatever injustices they were facing and carve out a better life for themselves. even non-refugee families who don’t fit the definition of ‘normal’ (which is what?? WHAT IS NORMAL, someone please explain- a neurotypical white cis straight man? THAT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE gahh) are often ostracized like they’re trying to steal jobs- how is that even possible?? they’re legally here and they have every right to be here, just like you do! thank you SO MUCH for this post, gracie, they’re always wonderful 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Honestly makes me so happy to see this. Human beings are meant to trust eachother, but instead the media portrays asylum seekers as mad or criminal. You are one of the kindest people and set a very good example for us all. Enjoy the rest of your trip! x

    Liked by 1 person

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