TANZANIA: What Does “HOME” Even Mean

TANZANIA: What Does “HOME” Even Mean

home is welcoming

I was recently asked to be a part of the upcoming UNHCR World Refugee Day in my country. I was asked to put literally myself in the shoes of those individuals who have been forced out of their homes and countries, due primarily to conflicts. I was then invited to contribute my thoughts and feelings through a document that would be shared at a gathering on World Refugee Day.

As a mother, I feel that our primal instinct is to protect and nurture, but protection and nurturing that is coupled with nesting. To many of us, a nest may initially bring a picture of “a little bird and a couple of eggs” to mind but in my opinion, a nest brings to mind home. It means having a center, a base, headquarters, in short somewhere to come back to.

That got me thinking. What does this four-letter word, HOME, really mean? To some, not much, because for them it’s something easily taken for granted. To others, it’s a base. A place where you shower, change, nap and get back out there.  But, for a lot of people, it’s a residence, it’s family, it’s dignity, it’s freedom. Most importantly, it’s where the heart is. I probably can’t even count the amount of times that I’ve walked in and out of my home, the amount of time I’ve spent time in my home just hiding away from the world in a safe and comforting haven. A lot of those times, I have not really sat and looked around to soak it in and really see what it all means, and certainly not for me, but for my family, until now.

The thought of the loss of this base, this center, a center that helps us be centered, truly breaks my heart. So here I am, thinking about the 5 million people in Tanzania who are currently refugees without ‘A Home’. My heart breaks to think about what that means for the 48% of refugees who are children. I am empathizing with them but also in awe of them all. In awe of their strength. In awe of their resilience.

I wish for a day when every person in this world will have a physical home to house the home each of us carries with us in our hearts.

What does home mean for you?

This is an original post by Nancy Sumari from Tanzania. You can find more of her writing at Mama Zuri.

Photo Credit to Susie Newday.