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Refugees Celebrate at HIAS Thanksgiving

November 20, 2012 By:
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Refugees from Nepal, Bhutan, Burma and other countries wait in line for a Thanksgiving feast organized by HIAS Pennsylvania on Nov. 11, 2012. Photo by Eric Berger.

Darfurian refugees literally jumped for joy at HIAS Pennsylvania's fourth annual refugee Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 11 in Center City.

Masalit men and women from western Darfur leapt high into the air, tucking their legs under them to the rhythm of a traditional song peformed by a fellow refugee who sang and played guitar.

Guests from a range of countries including Burma, Bhutan and Nepal shared food, music and dance moves while HIAS staff encouraged attendees to mingle at the Old Pine Community Center.

There was also an American presence — the buffet included Thanksgiving staples such as turkey and stuffing, and there was a performance of Jimi Hendrix's Little Wing. 

Chloe Tomlinson, HIAS refugee food security and nutrition coordinator, said she was amazed by the mix of people.
 
"You see so much resilience," she said. "They are going through a lot of struggles and it's great to see the community interact."

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