On a recent trip to Los Angeles, I had the pleasure of visiting the Refugee Photo Exhibit at the Annenburgh Space for Photography. This exhibit has been shown from April 23, 2016 to August 21, 2016 and focuses on sharing the stories of refugees around the world through the lens of five international photographers. The images and stories captured by these photographers told the story of dispersed diverse population displaced throughout the world due to instability in their homelands. The exhibit told stories of suffering, pain, and death which these refugees were looking to escape. I saw that being a refugee meant desperate families seeking a safe place to live and raise their children. I witnessed stories of desperation, sadness, but also hope and triumph. Although there was great sadness in the lives of these fellow humans, I saw that they always had hope for something better and there were many stories which celebrated triumph and the achievement of a better life. Although survival is the main focus for most of these people, one of the sad realities is that they are at risk of losing their identity, culture, and religion because they must adapt to their new environments. Without safety, they are not able to be who they were in their home. I saw examples of young men desperately trying to learn a new language and a new life simply to survive. I saw pictures of Muslim children attending weekly mass at a church simply because this is what their rescuers did.
The human spirit is strong and can withstand a lot of pressure and pain. Visiting this exhibit helped me learn about the reality of a harsh world but also about the perseverance of the human spirit to strive, survive, and achieve.