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Lesson plans for ages 15-18 in Language & Literature: The Depiction of Refugee Experience in Literature

Teaching Tools, 15 March 2007

LESSON 2: All tomorrows are the same by Misganaw Worknehe

Procedure

The teacher should check the outcome of the library research, building up a quick blackboard summary, with 3 columns, headed:

HOST
COUNTRY
REFUGEES' COUNTRY
OF ORIGIN
DATE OR
PERIOD

This exercise may lead to questions and discussion about particular refugee crises, past and present, for which the teacher should be prepared.

After the blackboard work, the students should move to sit in a circle.

Given time limitations, the Comprehension questions should be handled verbally.

The Discussion questions are designed to be more open ended rather than closed, to encourage the students to examine closely how language can be used to convey images and feelings. The questions also encourage the students to empathise with both the refugees and their hosts.

Comprehension questions

  • What happened in Ethiopia to cause Mesfin to flee his home country more than once?
  • What words would you use to describe
    • a) the conditions of the refugee camp?
    • b) the physical and emotional state of Mesfin?

Discussion questions

  • The writer describes the local Turkana people as 'uncompromising'. Would you consider this to be too harsh a description, especially after reading about the incident between Mesfin and a Turkana man over a bundle of wood?
  • How far did Mesfin have to walk simply to collect enough twigs to cook his meagre meal? What does this indicate about the condition of the local surroundings? How would you describe the predicament of the Turkana people?
  • How does the writer convey the emotional distance between the refugees and the locals?
  • In Brecht's poem and in Worknehe's short story, the refugees' reception by the host community is evoked. What is the essence of the conflict between refugees and hosts in each case? Are they equally serious?
  • What do you feel should be our community's response to refugees?
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