The Journey of Refugees in Inside Out and Back Again

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A refugee can be any person who has left their home because they are afraid for their safety if they stay. Once refugees leave home, they have to find asylum in another country until they can move into a new home. When refugees flee, their lives twist and turn inside out because of all the changes they go through and everything they leave behind or lose. This is very challenging for many people to go through, as soon as refugees resettle, their lives start to turn back again when they move past the changes. In the novel Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai, Ha and her family are living in the middle of the Vietnam war. Ha is 10 years old and doesn’t know what to think about the problem. Ha is hopeful that the war will end or at least move away from her home. When it becomes too much to handle her mom decides that their family must flee to America and find asylum there. Ha and her brothers have to deal with the sadness and emptiness that many refugees face. Ha goes through the process that most other people who flee their homes go through,she had to deal with her life changing until it was inside out when leaving, then she got to experience it turning back again while finding a new home.

It was hard leaving home because they had so many traditions and memories and Ha was afraid that they would have to leave everything she knew behind. I think that the title Inside Out & Back Again relates to having to change everything that you’re used to and learning to live in a new place all over again. Once time passes then things start to feel comfortable and even though you may be in a different place you learn how to make it feel like home again the best way that you can. Anything that is not the same as what you had before is going to feel different but after so long you just get used to it and then it becomes normal. Once the war started to get close to home HA watched as her best friend moved away. They were able to move quickly because they were considered rich and HA and her family were poor so it was harder for them. Her father was gone and it was only her, her mom, and her brothers so it was tough. Her mom had to work a lot of different jobs just to take care of them. When they finally left they could only pick 10 things each and their mom burned the rest. I couldn’t imagine only being able to chose 10 things to take with me if I was forced to leave home and move far away.

The way how the family left was by ship and had to find out that they could never return home. Their country Saigon was taken over and gone, lost in the war. In the book they were told that “South Vietnam no longer exist.” This was tough not only for Ha and her family to hear but some of the people on the ship took it hard and either killed or tried to kill themselves because they were afraid to start over and never being able to return home. Ha knew that her and her family had to learn how to live in America where everything was new. Closer to the end of the book Ha’s life began to turn back normal. They didn’t have to live in the refugee camps and were able to get a sponsor which meant that they would move to Alabama and be able to live in a regular house again. She loved trying new foods since she was so use to only living on rice and water. She was also able to go back to school again. They had been through so much, but they made it and Ha knew that they would be ok in the end.

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