Author: Rebekah Wolanski

Safe but Struggling: A Story of Refugees in America

He beckoned us into his brother’s government-issued house, a two story apartment in downtown Albany. I could see little faces peeking from the window, shy but curious, and the more brazen boys peered at us from the doorway. When we walked in, I immediately noticed how bare it was. The wood floor carried two couches, a coffee table, and a few dust bunnies. Instead of belongings, the room was filled with a stifling heat, the type that smothered your lungs and coaxed sweat from the back of your neck. Their windows were open, and a ceiling fan lazily pushed the heavy air around the room, but the lack of a cool breeze was conspicuous to a girl so used to air conditioning as I am. The whole family crowded into the room; three brothers, their wives, and thirteen children, ranging from an infant to ten years old. These people were refugees from war-torn Syria, and my fiancé, Omar, and I were here to see what they needed as they adjusted to their new life in America. …