Somewhere - Women's Stories of Migration
$30.00 Edited by Lorna Jane Harvey
Forward by Rt Hon Helen Clark
Book review by Holly and Liam Butler
In writing her forward for the collection ‘Somewhere’ the Rt Hon Helen Clark stated...
"The collection of stories in the pages of this book gives voice to women migrants. Some of the stories speak of forced displacement, while others are about deliberate and voluntary migration. Those who have written have shown courage, resilience, and strength. May their stories inspire strength in the many others in similar situations around the world."
‘Somewhere’ has met its objective of ‘encouraging open-mindedness’ it has proved to be a valuable learning resource for my 12 year old daughter Holly to get her thinking cap on over the summer holidays as she helped me review the collection of stories. It is a book that celebrates how our lives can be enriched as we increase our awareness of social justice, human rights and human dignity.
‘Somewhere’ provides you countless insights into the barriers women have managed as they migrated to and from a variety of different countries in different circumstances. ‘Somewhere’ sheds light on the inspiring often unheard stories of refugees who have fled their home countries due to war, politics and terrorism. Modern economic migrants that have migrated to start a new life in a different country also share their stories.
Since this book is about women migrants it becomes clear of the gender specific challenges that women have when migrating… “All these women share the same bitter experience: Their lives are incomplete and even meaningless to some extent, either because they are unsatisfied with their jobs and have to carry out this everyday routine or because they do not love their husbands and live like birds in golden cages. All of them are still attached to their native countries and, in a sense, lost in between.” The stories tell how many women feel trapped in the countries that they have migrated to and they feel that they cannot go back to their homes.
During this book it showed how some women have felt discriminated against due to how they look ,how they dress, what they eat, how they act or the language or accent that they speak in. In the story ‘Coming home’ by Katrina Buikema she writes about how she felt as she was constantly pointed out by strangers during her time in Japan as being “not fully Japanese”. During her time in Japan, she said that she had an identity crisis and she was perplexed by the question ‘Am I Japanese or not?’ She states how damaging it is to stick out like a sore thumb in a culture that is supposed to be your own.
‘Somewhere’ shows how emotionally straining it can be to get accepted by the system to become a legal migrant. One of the harder hitting stories in this book was the story written by Sara Sheffield-Cavallo called “The language of love”. This story definitely illustrates how hard it is to get accepted into a country. It took her and her partner over ten months to get accepted to migrate to the USA from Switzerland even with a job lined up for her in the USA upon her arrival.
‘Somewhere’ is an easy book to read with new and interesting stories every few pages. This book has twenty well written stories, ranging from the story, ‘Home sweet herm’ by Cheryl Lee Latter which is the story of how Cheryl migrated from the UK to the remote states of Guernsey (the island Herm) to work in the pub there to serve to a population of approximately sixty-five people, to the story, ‘Life is a struggle’ by Tooba Neda Safi which is the story of how Tooba suffered through the Taliban in Afghanistan as a young female and later left Afghanistan for a cultural workshop in Denmark and decided not to come back, later migrating to Switzerland because human rights were better there.
‘Somewhere’ has many useful tips for life including the perennial need to listen…
‘It became clear that female migrants faced different, and probably larger, challenges than men when migrating. At the same time, the most important thing I took away from my conversations with these women was that being vulnerable was not the same as being a victim.’
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