The history of humanity is a history of movement. As the first humans wandered out of Africa and began to spread across Europe and Asia, and then North America and South America, they became the world’s first immigrants. Just as with those who immigrate today, these mass migrations were made up of hundreds or thousands of individuals and families, each with their own story of how they uprooted themselves from their homes and ventured out into the unknown, encountering unfamiliar environments and searching for a better life. In this month’s issue, we feature a few of these personal stories of immigrants, refugees, and migrants.

Our journey begins with The jaunt, a story by Ashish Mehta about a journey with no obvious destination. Two people leave their home with nothing, one following the other, walking into the unknown with a purpose deeper than understanding.

Like these two people, David Ngaruri Kenney left his home in Kenya for the unknown, fleeing persecution for a U.S. basketball scholarship. In A "little death penalty" case, Scott Kuhagen talks with Philip Schrag about Kenney’s legal struggle for political asylum in the United States.

The pressure to assimilate can weigh heavily on a new immigrant, but nostalgia about what’s been left behind can be stronger. In Feeding the need, Amy Brozio-Andrews reviews Broccoli and Other Tales of Food and Love by Lara Vapnyar, a book of short stories about how familiar food can assuage the loneliness of an unfamiliar country.

Immigrant communities can be another way to ease the pain of transition. Rose Symotiuk, who emigrated from Poland as a young child, grew up in the United States without this sense of community. In Notes from a "white immigrant", she writes of what it feels like to grow up as a "stealth foreigner": someone whose skin color doesn’t advertise her place of birth.

As immigrants settle, they gradually become residents, giving birth to children who call their adopted country home. Ties to the "old country" begin to fade as the generations progress, until eventually a family has little connection to its ancestral lands. Jane Varley, the great granddaughter of Lithuanian immigrants, writes in Where the moon is a hole in the sky of her encounter with her great grandparents’ homeland.

In Scenes from a party in Uganda, Jennifer Lee Johnson gets a taste of a newcomer’s cultural disorientation when she discovers that Ugandan relationships function in a very different manner than American relationships — and realizes that this isn’t a bad thing.

Finally, we turn to Adam Marksteiner, who brings us to San Lucas Tolimán, Guatemala for their Holy Week celebrations in his stunning visual essay Semana Santa.

The movement of people has shaped our world in the past and will continue to do so in the future. While those who leave are shaped by the country they move to, so too is their adoptive home shaped by the culture and traditions they bring with them. Far from diluting the dominant society, the culture immigrants bring with them rather enhances a country, bringing the spices, flavors, and ideas from another part of the world and adding them to the mix. It is this constant flow of people from one part of the world to the other that keeps culture vibrant and alive, a growing entity that is beautiful and strong.

I am a writer/editor turned web developer. I’ve served as both Editor-in-chief and Technical Developer of In The Fray Magazine over the past 5 years. I am gainfully employed, writing, editing and developing on the web for a small private college in Duluth, MN. I enjoy both silence and heavy metal, John Milton and Stephen King, sunrise and sunset. Like all of us, I contain multitudes.

In The Fray is a nonprofit staffed by volunteers. If you liked this piece, could you please donate $10?