Liberian Refugees people displaced due to brutal civil war

CULTURE

97% indigenous and 3% Americo-Liberian (freed slaves from America's Southern States).

Indigenous tribes have their own cultures and languages. There are 4 cultural groups: Kwa, Monde-Fu, Mande- Tan, Mel.

FOOD

rice, sweet cassava, palm butter, corn, termites

Termites are eaten as a popular dish.

MARRIAGE

Monogamy and polygamy are both permitted although Americo-Liberians date and marry for love. Indigenous people have a payment for the bride- the cost depends on her ethnicity, age and social standings.

LANGUAGE AND LITERACY

There are 28 indigenous dialects spoken in Liberia. There are three varieties of spoken English: well-educated, non-standard English and those with little or no formal education. English was originally brought to Liberia by the free African slaves from America. Today, children learn English at school.

HISTORY

Liberia's history is filled with continuous conflict between the Indigenous Liberians and Americo-Liberian settlers competing for control of land, trade routes and governmental power.

1. Pre-Liberian Time -earliest settlers came for farming (about 12th Century to early 1800s)
2. Early-Americo Liberian Settlements (1815-1835)-freed slaves came to Liberia. Indigenous people resisted changes made by the Americo-Liberian settlers.
3. The Commonwealth Period (1835-1857)–Liberia becomes an independent, sovereign state with a republican government. More colonies are formed.
4. Americo- Liberian Rule (1857-1868) Joseph J. Roberts was first president. In 1923 a caste system had evolved: Americo Liberian officials – light skinned, Americo Liberians – dark skinned, Recaptives- rescued by Navy, Indigenous- African Liberians
5. The Wig Party Dominance (1868-1980): made up of farmers, immigrants, receptive Africans. William V.S. Tubman was the longest serving President with the greatest impact on Liberia.

6. Doe Administration (1980 - 2005) Terror which led to the Civil War.

EDUCATION

There are 2 Systems of Education: Modern Education and Traditional Educational System. Today the Ministry of Education is primarily responsible for the administration of all public schools. Liberia has a very low literacy rate because of the social and educational inequalities and the 14 year civil war.

CHALLENGES IN LEARNING ENGLISH

There are many reasons for educational inequalities: limited schools in rural areas, expense of moving to an urban area for school, the belief that modern, and Western education will alienate their children from traditional values and practices, especially females.

REFUGEE EXPERIENCE

When fighting erupted in 1989, people fled into neighboring countries in West Africa, but were often forced to escape their refugee camps because more fighting broke out. Many refugees were forced to resettle multiple times due to dangerous war. There are several refugee camps and each one has its own living connections. Some are much better than others.
Refugee Camp in the Ivory Coast
Krisan is a village compared to Buduburam, but it is far more cosmopolitan in its refugee make-up.
Laine refugee camp in Guinea.
Buduburam: a camp in Ghana where refugees have freedom of movement, but can be detained if asked for paperwork. Life is described as "suburban" with schools, shops, houses and medical clinics.

RESETTLEMENT CHALLENGES

Liberians from urban areas may be familiar with life and culture of the US because they have a special affinity towards the US. But they also arrive with false assumptions about the US and that poses a challenge when reality hits. Assume America is like it is in the movies, that Americans will open their homes for them or that they all know the history of Liberia. They struggle with culture shock because of the assumptions. They have a lot of needs, like medical care and hygiene. Many children come whose parents have died or separated. Sorting out biological relations is very difficult. Many people have been separated and remarried, or widowed. They refer to a cousin as a brother or sister often times. Many people raise the children. It can be done by siblings, anyone in community. There is also a possibility that these children have been soldiers.

NEED FOR RESETTLEMENT

The civil war caused everyone to flee. There was a brutal civil war between the Americo-Liberian and indigenous Liberians. They were fighting over natural resources and the government control.

RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES

Some people practice multiple forms of religion.

Animism ( the belief that spirits are capable of helping or harming people). , ancestral worship. 2 Types: shamanism (the belief in a person who is able to communicate with the spirits) and totemism (the belief in a special kinship between humans and animals or plants), are practiced among many indigenous people an object representing a plant, animal, rock, earthly object that helps them with something. For example, the leopard helps the person run faster and avoid danger. YOU can never eat your totem! That’s like eating yourself.

Two monotheistic religions (Christianity and Islam) being the principal ones.

Witchcraft (the notion that misfortune, disease and death derive from the ill wishes of others) is practiced by some indigenous people.

Credits:

Created with images by DFID - UK Department for International Development - "Children pictured at a UNCHR food distribution point in Liberia" • DFID - UK Department for International Development - "Refugees from Ivory Coast queue for food at a distribution site in Liberia" • DFID - UK Department for International Development - "Displaced Ivorians queue for food at a UNHCR distribution site in Liberia" • Prof Ken Harper - "Liberia – By Ken Harper" • falco - "church window church window" • LoggaWiggler - "taj mahal mausoleum agra"

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