Statement from the Artist: We knew there were hundreds of people who were traveling through Costa Rica on a weekly basis in their quest to reach the United States of America. We had read the many articles available on the treacherously long journeys migrants and refugees were taking in order to escape poverty and violence, but nothing could have prepared us for sitting across from these brave individuals and listening to their stories.
As one of the field researchers conducting interviews in Costa Rica, I witnessed the exhaustion that plagued most of our participants. We spoke to Nepalis, Bangladeshis, Indians, Pakistanis, Cameroonians, Congolese, Ghanaians, and respondents with 21 other nationalities. Although each individual’s story was unique, they were all bound by the dangerous journey they had endured.
Beyond sharing the findings of our research, we felt compelled to invite readers into these migrants’ and refugees’ journeys by making their financial biographies available in the format of a short story. Moreover, we saw the need to convey these stories in a way that would be more visually appealing to those interested in the perils of long-journey migration, so we resolved to create these maps.
The Journeys Project is a research project out of The Fletcher School at Tufts University that examines the financial journeys of migrants and refugees, to better understand the costs and the survival strategies as well as the approaches used to thrive in a new and unfamiliar home.
Each medium we use to share the questions, research, and findings of the Journeys Project gives you a unique perspective into the complex experiences of the migrants and refugees our researchers speak with. The Displacement Series is a dynamic story map that covers the full lifespan of the Journeys Project. Both Liyou Kebede and Anne Moses create artwork that gives us a new lens through which to see the stories of the migrants and refugees we have interviewed. Our maps help put into perspective the kind of distance some of the stories we’ve heard cover as migrants and refugees search for a more secure life for themselves and their families.