Outcasts United Questions and Answers
by Warren St. John

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After reading about the hardships of Liberia and the Somali Bantu, what is one aspect of American life that you have taken for granted?

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Each reader's answer will vary depending on their own experiences in the United States. Issues of family unity and personal safety loom large.

The children on the Fugees soccer team are individuals with or come from families that have been authorized for refugee status. Only a small percentage of children living in the United States are refugees, so the experience of going through a complex legal process is unfamiliar to children who are born in the country.

Many of them lost their immediate families during the war and came to live with other relatives, which is also relatively uncommon in the United States. A large percentage of the boys had seen their homes destroyed by mortar fire or aerial bombing. While waiting to be resettled in the United States, they had lived in rudimentary conditions in refugee camps, often lacking adequate food and water.

An especially troubling aspect of the war in Liberia was the involvement of very young children as mercenaries. Few American children have been forced to act as soldiers, although some are victims of gun violence or have access to weapons.

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