Somali Bantu Refugee Resettlement:
From Kakuma to Atlanta


If you’ve not grown up going to American style grocery, there is a lot to learn about the process than there seems.

In the refugee camp, most of the Bantu did not have income and simply had to collect their own firewood and rely on rations given by the World Food Bank. If they did start to receive monies from family members already working in another country, the make-shift markets around Kakuma like you see here would have been the only option.

Part of our role in resettlement is to help families get started with food and access to the grocery store. It’s obvious that people will be faced with new foods but there is also a lot unfamiliar about packaging, purchasing, budgeting, and even shopping etiquette. Though we accompany new families on their initial trips to help them understand, our mock shopping in orientation classes allowed time to practice and discuss these differences more in depth. One of my favorite discussion starters for a new class was to hold up some dishwashing soap and ask what the bottle of yellow liquid with pictures of lemons on it was and always getting the “obvious” answer: lemonade!