Almost all living creatures have a home of sorts. It is a land that is familiar to us and is a place where we often have fond memories and positive associations. It provides safety, comfort, control, and peace. The absence of a home, or a lack of feeling any sense of belonging, oftentimes comes with feelings of abandonment, confusion, and insecurity. Many of this issue’s articles explore the concept of a home, how creatures return home, and what can happen when a home is lost.
Humans take up residence in all kinds of environments ranging from sprawling metropolises to some of the most remote corners of the globe that are largely devoid of our modern luxuries. Oftentimes though, we emigrate to other societies for a variety of reasons; curiosity, financial profit, for the sake of adventure, service, to spread one’s beliefs, or to learn about others. Richard Nelson, a white man that taught in one of Los Angeles’ toughest African American schools, is one of those people that left his home behind to learn more about himself and overcome his subconscious prejudices. His article “My White Experience in the Black Community” is an emotional and gripping memoir that can help all of us open our hearts to others.
In worst case scenarios, people flee from their homes to avoid persecution, enmity, exclusion, or even ethnic cleansing. Many Turks have had to flee their home country of Turkey, often via illegal and unsafe practices, with the hope of escaping a brutal dictatorship that no one wanted them to call Turkey their home. Zain Hussain recounts his emotional and life changing encounter with Turkish refugees on his volunteer trip to Greece.
Some of Earth’s most beautiful islands and oceans are home for other creatures, such as Pacific Golden Plovers and Loggerhead Sea Turtles. Despite lacking free will or methodology, they utilize a variety of complex systems to consistently find their way home even if it means travelling hundreds of miles across giant swaths of lands or water. These natural phenomena are astounding and still perplex scientists to this day.
Even the most microscopic creatures find homes for themselves, whether in our bodies or in the bodies of other animals. One such creature, though we would definitely consider it not welcome in our systems, is the trypanosome, a lethal parasite that is a scourge across much of Africa. Such parasites travel through a variety of hosts including worms, eggs, snails, birds, and flies to eventually end up within our bloodstreams.