All Refugees Are Not Created Equal

A reader, Lucas, posted a question that has crossed many of our minds.  What do you intend to do if, or when, needy families or individuals come to you for help?  As Lucas puts it, do you take them in or turn them away?

What if my own family were stranded somewhere with no hope of getting home? Would we have to resign ourselves to being part of the early die-off or might there be a way to increase our chances of survival? I think I might have the answer to that question.

Imagine that the S has indeed hit the fan, several weeks have gone by, and your family has adjusted to this new reality.  You’re thankful for all the preparedness steps you took and keep a very low profile in your town.

image by woodleywonderworks

One day you see a family approaching your front door. Through a peep-hole, you spot a dad, a mom, and two teenagers. Your first instinct is to fire a warning shot, but something tells you to go out and hear their story. Here is what you learn.

Refugee Dad was a former executive with an insurance company and made quite a good living at one time. Refugee Mom had been a legal secretary but became a stay-at-home mom once her two children were born. She kept herself busy with various charities in their hometown and was active in Junior League. Their teenage daughter had been on track to receive a scholarship to a prestigious university based on her soccer skills, and her brother showed some real promise in his favorite sports, skateboarding and snowboarding.  The family seems healthy and has lived an active lifestyle.

While talking with this family and hearing their tales of difficulty, you spot a second family approaching, again, a dad, a mom, and two teenagers. You’re already out in the open, obviously your home is occupied, so you have no choice but to talk with them as well. They have quite a different story to tell.

This second Refugee Dad is a plumber and an apprentice gunsmith. Although the family is stranded far from home, they don’t seem too much worse for the wear, and you learn that they have always enjoyed roughing it in the wilderness. In fact, they are all expert marksmen and have some formidable hunting and fishing skills. Mom is an RN and a certified Master Gardener.  he two teens were both good students and were active in 4-H.  Mom and Dad have volunteered with the American Red Cross for the past ten years and taken every CERT class their community offered.

Which family will you take in?  Which will you turn away?

In the case of the first family, they had been living the typical American lifestyle.  That’s no criticism, but neither had there ever been much of a preparedness mindset. In a true SHTF scenario, this family brings no value to the table, so to speak. I might be willing to provide a few provisions, but they would add four more mouths to feed and not much else. Harsh, but true.

On the other hand, the second refugee family would definitely be welcome. Are you kidding? What a package! A nurse, master gardener, 4-H members, and a gunsmith to boot?  Wow! I’d share my buckets of wheat with them any day!

These examples, and the questions I’ve posed, illustrate the importance of moving past the buying mode of preparedness and into the areas of skills and knowledge. Often, these come free of charge.

Even the best and hardest working families can be hit with long-term unemployment and financial hardships. This makes it difficult to purchase extra food and all the other supplies you may need, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept your fate as die-off victims. Seek out free training, volunteer to work alongside a master of a particularly valuable skill. Be purposeful when choosing your kids’ activities, sports, and hobbies and how your family spends its free time.

If you do ever find yourself in the unfamiliar role of a homeless refugee, your bank of skills and knowledge may open doors to you and your family that would otherwise remain closed. It’s worth investing the time and effort.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email