“The invitation was from Bates College for Colby anthropologist Catherine Besteman to participate in a panel with Somali Bantu refugees who, in 2006, had started arriving in droves in the down-at-the-heels mill city of Lewiston, Maine.

Besteman and her husband, Jorge Acero, had lived in a remote Somali village, Banta, in 1987 and 1988, and Besteman’s role in Lewiston was to give some background on the civil war that broke out shortly afterward. But when Besteman, the Francis F. Bartlett and Ruth K. Bartlett Professor of Anthropology, introduced herself to the men on the panel and asked where they were from, the faces suddenly became familiar.” READ MORE