Life in a Refugee Camp
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||edHelper's suggested reading level:
||grades 4 to 6
||Flesch-Kincaid grade level:
||burning, persecution, worldwide, nationality, arid, brightly-colored, medical, artillery, religion, camps, homeland, dreams, region, Dark-eyed, magical, meals
||Dark-eyed Suleiman, United States, And Suleiman, Refugee Agency, Arizona State University, Camp Refugee
Life in a Refugee Camp
By Colleen Messina
1 Caption: Darfur refugee camp in Chad
2 Dark-eyed Suleiman is ten years old. Like many young boys, he loves to fly kites. He loves to make his kites soar up into the clear, blue African sky. But Suleiman's life is very different from the lives of happy boys flying brightly-colored kites in the United States. His kite is made from an old black plastic bag. And Suleiman flies it over his home in a refugee camp.
3 Suleiman has friends his age in the refugee camp. The children still find ways to have fun. They invent magical games to play. They play tag in the hot sun. Some of them play soccer, stirring up clouds of choking dust as they run across the dry fields. Other children use the cheap plastic bags to make swings. The bag makes the seat for the swing. They hang it from a tree branch by a rope. Unfortunately, there are few trees in the arid country of Chad.
4 Chad is in north-central Africa and has land on all sides. This means the country is "landlocked." The country is about 85% of the size of Alaska. The country has 18 regions. Suleiman's family traveled to this country from their home in Sudan. The Darfur region of Sudan had a great deal of fighting and violence, so more than a million Sudanese people fled. However, the families who ended up in the refugees camps in Chad found that life remained difficult in many ways.
5 These families left everything behind. They moved into one of twelve refugee camps along the border between eastern Chad and Sudan. Suleiman's family is among the more than 200,000 refugees there from Sudan. However, they did not escape from the burning desert heat. Chad, like Sudan, is hot and dry. The average daily temperature is above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The country of Chad is sometimes called the "Dead Heart of Africa."
Paragraphs 6 to 11:
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1. Many refugees are bombarded each day with the sounds of war. Try this experiment. Listen to something loud for a minute or more. Then, write a description of how it made you feel. Do you think that the sounds of war would be very stressful for the refugees? Why, or why not?
2. Imagine that you have the opportunity to give kites to children like Suleiman in a refugee camp. Design and draw a picture of the special kite that you would give to this boy, and write him a note with a message of hope for the future next to your picture.
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