Part I: The Story of Abdul

2015. szeptember 07., hétfő

This past May a group of American students and their teacher decided to do their missions trip in Budapest with the refugee mission of Reformed Mission Centre (RMK). During their stay, students became acquainted with several people and families and they learned about their ways of life and the turbulent situations that forced them to flee. Part I.

Bri: “Abdul Rahman Hassan is a refugee from Iraq currently living in Budapest. Though every refugee’s story is unique in its own way, the challenges Hassan and his family have faced are similar to those faced by countless other refugees living in Hungary and around the world. Hassan and his family are devout Christians, and under Saddam’s rule they were able to attend church without fear. Hassan even volunteered as a pastor. Additionally, the strong police and army helped maintain peace throughout Iraq. Their life was far from perfect, but they managed.

“In 2003, everything changed. The United States invaded Iraq and overthrew Saddam. Iraq was bombed heavily—nothing was spared, not even churches like the one Hassan attended, where 50 people were killed, including two pastors. Church and politics, which had once been kept separate, were now mixed. Throughout Iraq, thousands of people were killed. Many families were left without houses, jobs, or schools. 

“Hassan and his family waited four years in Iraq. It was a very difficult time. Hassan was constantly in danger. His own brother and sister were forced to leave their own houses with nothing but their clothes. Hassan and his wife and kids came to Hungary. 

“Life in Hungary may be safer than Iraq, but it is still full of difficulties. Hassan generally likes living in Hungary. It is a beautiful and safe country, and the people are very nice. 

“Hassan’s transition to life in Hungary has been greatly aided through an organization known as RMK (Református Missziói Központ, which means Reformed Mission Center), specifically Menekültmisszió, its refugee mission. He is still connected closely to it. It helped them adjust to the radically different culture. It also helped them get a house, helps the kids in school, and has helped them (specifically Hassan’s wife) learn the language. Hassan is very grateful for this organization.” 

Sarah: “Now that the family is safe doesn’t mean that the transition is not difficult. [It’s] hard for them to feel a sense of community, as well as the fact they only know of three Iraqi-Christian families in Hungary. Many Iraqis have a difficult time with people in

Hungary because the culture is so different making it hard to make friends. It is very difficult to be granted citizenship even if you have a good job and contribute to society. He knows a family that has lived in Hungary for fifteen years and has been denied citizenship three times. The only way he has heard of someone gaining citizenship is to marry somebody who is Hungarian but, even then only the person getting married gains citizenship none of their family does. This shows how difficult it is to pick up and flee to a new country. Even when you have made it to a safe place there are more challenges ahead of you—struggles of living in a completely different country with different culture, norms, and lifestyle.

Bri Lewis and Sarah Gruber

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Reformed Church in Hungary

Address: H-1146 Budapest, Abonyi utca 21.   

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We encourage you to read our  former GM intern Kearstin Bailey's blog about her time, spent in Hungary.