The Somali word buufis is commonly used in the Kenyan refugee camps of Dadaab, referring to a person’s dream of resettlement.
It is an ambiguous phenomenon, bringing hope and remittances into the camps but also removing investments from the region and, when the dream cannot be reached, sometimes having adverse psychological effects.
Buufis is triggered by the fact that, due to transnational flows of remittances and information, refugees in remote camps like Dadaab can compare their lives in the camps to those of others elsewhere. This illustrates how the opportunities, constraints, hopes and dreams that refugees experience locally are often determined by transnational factors.
Whereas the resettlement dreams analysed in this article are thus likely to occur in other contexts as well, it is argued that they are more intense and elaborate amongst refugee communities with a strong culture of migration, like the Somalis.
Ref: Cindy Horst: University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Institute for Metropolitan and International Development Studies (AMIDSt), Nieuwe Prinsengracht 130, 1018 VZ Amsterdam, Netherlands