Expanding our Definition of “Home”

Expanding our Definition of “Home”

by Nadia Ramoutar MMM Communications Coordinator             Ireland         06.09.2023

I find myself lately reflecting on the word “home”.

Most likely this is because I have been fortunate enough to buy a little house and I am in the process of renovating it.  As I get tired working nights and weekends on so many projects, I am refocusing my attention on the gratitude that I get to have this problem of making my home the way I want it for my family.  There is so much in the Western world that looks like a “problem” when it is in fact a “privilege.”

I am grateful to the MMMs for teaching me so much in my time working with them.  When I travelled to visit the mission work in Tanzania we went on home visits.  There were multigenerational families living in homes with concrete floors, no electricity and no running water. Families made this structures into the best place they could with what they had.  Many people were working from their home too making something they could sell.  The enthusiasm to create was most admirable to witness.

So, when I catch myself grumbling – I stop.  I take a moment and give thanks to have a mattress and a bed, and not just a concrete floor to sleep on.  It seems easy to overlook what we have not had to experience but the truth is that where one family struggle we all struggle.
Recently, I was speaking with a lovely young woman from Afghanistan.  Intelligent, bright and caring, this young woman has experienced hell in her homeland before leaving.  She is kept awake at night worrying about her family especially her sisters who are living under the Taliban rule.

It is shocking to think that this young woman almost died on a number of occasions in her attempts to leave her country.  She could not ever experience justice or freedom there.  She spoke highly of how welcome she is made to feel in Ireland but how her life before in Afghanistan still haunts her.  Her trauma was both palpable and understandable.  She is so strong and so wise but it is a pity that she has had to become this way at such a young age.  When other young woman have the freedom to just live their life with day to day stresses, this woman carries heavy weight in her heart each day.  She masks her grief and despair so it is not a burden to anyone but to herself.

The UN Refugee Agency data shows that in mid-2021 around 4.3 million stateless people were living in 93 countries – but the real number is considered to be much higher than this.  It seems so unfair that for some people, there is no option but to leave their homeland due to cruel politics or dangerous dictators.  I think that providing “homes” for people is a much bigger issue of human fragility than we seem to be able to deal with globally.  Perhaps we will all need to expand our definition of “home” so more people can experience the safety and comfort all people deserve.