Liberal Englishwoman Emma Duncan exclaims the perks of owning her own refugee: "brownie points" for "virtue" signaling, he helps out with chores, when she feeds him chicken he makes it last a whole week. It's like he's her pet...
With my girls away at university I opened my house to a young man from Darfur, and it’s changed my life as much as his.
EmmaDuncanOver Christmas I read in a newspaper about an organisation called Refugees at Home, which places homeless refugees with host families. Since I was feeling seasonably charitable and I rattle around the house when my daughters are away at university, I got in touch with them.
They sent a nice woman round to inspect us. The main thing she wanted to find out was whether everybody in the household was keen on having a refugee: there had, it seemed, been a few cases of a wife inviting the tired, the poor and the huddled masses into the family home and failing to inform her husband that he was going to be staring at them over the marmalade at breakfast-time.
Since I was keen, the girls were going back to their universities and the dog was not consulted, the wheels started turning. A few weeks later, Mohammedain arrived with a small rucksack and a large smile. He’s from Darfur, he’s 28, and he’s a delight. Even the dog, which has shown embarrassing racist tendencies in the past, has taken to him.
Having Mohammedain around is a bonus in several ways. First, he wins me brownie points. People’s eyes widen with amazement at my virtue when I tell them I’ve got a Sudanese refugee living in the house.
Actually, my new moral stature is entirely undeserved. The room would have been empty otherwise, I’m out at work during the day and Mohammedain walks the dog if I’m late home. And he’s very nice to me. My daughters have many virtues, but overwhelming gratitude for the bounty their mother provides is not among them. There are complaints if the contents of the fridge are not up to standard or — God forbid — they are required to eat leftovers.
Mohammedain wants only baked beans, for which he acquired a taste in the refugee camp in Calais, sliced bread and eggs. When I bought him a halal chicken, he made it last for the best part of a week. He tells me regularly how happy he is to be in my house. I suppose it would be odd if my children showered me with daily expressions of gratitude, but it’s very nice to be thanked now and again.
Second, Mohammedain radiates the positive air of the upwardly mobile. My family is downwardly mobile — my grandmother would have raised a disdainful eyebrow at Stockwell, the part of south London I live in — as is my country.
We are beset by statistics claiming that this generation of young people is going to be worse off than the previous one, pointing out that even Italian workers are more productive than British ones, or showing us that we have been surpassed in the international education league tables by yet another nation of alarmingly numerate Asians who always get their homework in on time. http://www.refugeesathome.org/2017/02/what-every-home-needs-a-smiling-refugee/