Somali Bantu Refugee Resettlement: From Kakuma to Atlanta (2003-2005)
Before the Somali Bantu could resettle safely in another country, they had to make it through the first hurdle of even getting there.
One of the focuses of the GOAL Transit Center in Nairobi was to educate Somali Bantu families passing through about what to expect and how to behave safely on a long international flight. Large groups were often booked together with an escort through to the point of entry and immigration but after that they were on their own to each individual city
Upon their arrival to Atlanta, we would meet and escort the Somali Bantu families from the airport. Sometimes just connecting would be a challenge since they came without any knowledge of where to go or who to look for. They would all arrive in standard issue US Resettlement Program clothing (some of the only warm clothes they would have) which at least made it easy for us to recognize them as new arrivals. Still, if we could not convince airport staff to give us a gate pass, lost families in the huge mile-long terminal of Hartsfield-Jackson airport were common. (photo by WR staff)