The Displaced

Sometimes when my parents thought we were sleeping upstairs they would talk in the kitchen about some of the  things that had happened to our family in Ukraine. I could hear their voices through the stove pipe, because it ran from the kitchen up into our bedroom.  The terrible things I heard my parents talking about frightened me.” 

My mother-in-law told me that story once. She was just a little girl when she came to Canada from Ukraine but that didn’t mean she wasn’t affected by her family’s refugee experience.

the enns family

My mother-in-law is the little girl on her mother’s lap in this photo taken just before her family left Ukraine.

I thought of my mother-in-law Anne and her family often as I read the book The Displaced.  It is a series of essays by refugee writers describing their families’ experiences finding a new home in North America. The book was just published in 2018 so it includes references to how Trump’s America is changing the lives of refugees and making them scarier and more difficult. The theme that resonated for me in the essays was how the refugee experience impacted multiple generations of families.  the displacedThe stories in The Displaced are well written, many a riveting read and they are as diverse as the writers who penned them. The refugee writers have come from Chile, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Bosnia, Zimbabwe, Iran, Ethiopia, Mexico, Hungary and like my mother-in-law Ukraine. They offer an illuminating window into the lives of refugees and make the reader aware of how vital it is for countries to welcome and offer a home to people who find themselves in untenable circumstances due to no fault of their own. 

Other posts…..


I Could Cry I Am So Happy To Be a Canadian 

Cambodia Revisited


Filed under Books

2 responses to “The Displaced

  1. Mary Lou, Hardy and I just read your Rejoice! devotionals, which took us to your blog. My brothers are on a cruise to Ukraine and have just discovered through the archives there, that our maternal grandfather, (who was falsely accused and imprisoned in March 1938 and never heard from again) was shot in Nov. 1938 and exonerated in 1989. Although we never knew him personally, our mother, who was 17 when he was taken, painted a picture of this gentle, music loving man for us. We are all feeling so sad that his life was cut short, cut down as if he was a nobody! You can read about it on my latest blog post:
    I just finished reading and reviewing Hedy Leonore Martens’ second novel “From Here to Nowhere” and it touched me deeply. Are you familiar with it?


    • Thanks for the link to your blog. I will start following it now that I know about it. Yes I am familiar with Hedy Martens’ books because I am the librarian at our church and someone requested I buy them for the library. They are very popular with my library users so I have not yet had a chance to read them. I do know that Dora Dueck edited the first book so I am sure it is well written. Dave and I made a trip to Ukraine in 2011 and although we have traveled to many different places it was my favorite trip because it provided so many connections to both my past and my husband’s past.


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