Foreword by Lloyd Axworthy
Photographs by Keith Levit
War, genocide, rape, looting, violence – the makings of nightmares is the daily reality for millions in contemporary Africa. To survive often means abandoning everything in a quick escape. If it were you, what would you do to survive? Could you flee? Could you leave behind belongings, memories, valuables, children, mothers, fathers?
In 2012, more than a thousand refugees to Manitoba, most from Africa, did just that. They are the lucky ones.
In this compelling collection, African refugees tell us, in their own words, how their lives were ripped apart and what they had to do to build new ones. They relate their stories with calm, matter-of-fact dignity that underplays the horrific challenges they have faced. In the pages of this book, we meet a wide assortment of men and women ranging in age from four to 73, representing a variety of African countries and backgrounds.
Their often untold stories span from experiences in their African birth countries through to their new homes in Manitoba. The Lucky Ones tells the story of the teenager who
was kidnapped and then chained at an outdoor garage for 18 months. The woman who survived an encounter with a gun-toting rebel by knowing 30 generations of her family history. The young teen – all alone – who travelled across the continent from Burundi to South Africa in search of a home.
These accounts, as compiled by Anne Mahon, tell us much about the strength of the human spirit. These refugees show an openness to change and an unwavering gratitude that is an inspiring lesson for Canadians fortunate enough to already live here.
It seems we are all the lucky ones.
WINNER – On The Same Page Manitoba selection, 2013-14.
“The book’s shocking first-hand accounts of survival will cause readers to bristle the next time they hear someone cast refugees as “fraudsters” or “just someone here to take our jobs.” And reading about parents who were forced to run for the border without their children – let alone their passports – will cause people to question the government’s dismissive terminology of bogus and illegal refugees.” – The Catalyst, Citizens for Public Justice Publication
“Anne Mahon faithfully captures refugees’ voices with raw authenticity, imprinting their lives onto our collective memory. Their stories of love, loss, war, and grace capture the dogged human drive to metabolize pain into power for good.” – Lisa Shannon, author of A Thousand Sisters and founder of Run for Congolese Women
“Canada has thousands of untold stories of the immigrant and refugee experience. Here is a well-selected and well-told sampling – gripping accounts of what it’s like to oercome horrific obstacles and to live the dream.” – Tom Denton, Director, Hospitality House Refugee Ministry
“Reading this book will help us bridge the gap with the refugees – and will make us better Canadians as we appreciate our good fortune at the accident of birth. This is priority reading as we live in an increasingly complex Canadian society.” – Art Defehr, former representative of the UNHCR to Somalia.