This is the season when many people pray and sing about home. But what can that wonderful word mean to the millions displaced by war, poverty, and environmental disasters? The desire for home is so strong that even in unwelcoming refugee camps, migrants find ingenious ways to create a makeshift home. For instance, in a Jordanian camp, Syrian refugees are forbidden to grow gardens in the sunbaked soil. So these uprooted people plant familiar seeds in vertical gardens—oil and water containers attached to the roofs of their shacks, growing vegetables that taste of home. They gather for tea, using a tea set fashioned beautifully from cans and bottles rescued from the trash heap. But although refugee camps sometimes become permanent homes for people trapped there, the world—each of us—must not assume that these creative replicas of home replace the lands they left behind or the ones they look toward with hope and longing.
By Mara Faulkner, OSB