Jumma people and Kimpo. I consider this to be the most unforgettable activity I participated in as a Humanasia intern. Visiting and staying with the Jumma people was not as easy as I had expected. I had to get off at Gaewha Station, the very end of line 9 to take a one hour ride to reach ‘Yanggok town, the home of the Jummas.
The first meeting was full of anticipation. But after awhile, I could see through their real and harsh daily lives. On the territory across from the “Jumma Town,” I saw new apartments neatly built in rows and columns, as if there was another Seoul in progress, only cleaner. However, the JPNK (Jumma People Network Korea) and the village it was located in, as well as our first filming location, was like Korea in the 1970s, where homeless beggars still slept on street corners and slanted houses with paint peeling off were in desperate need of reconstruction. With no peculiar street sign, we had to walk up a steep stairway through a small door that could be easily missed. There, I met the Jumma people. They were having a community meeting at what seemed to be a remodel of an old house. They greeted us with naïve faces and warm smiles.
Visiting Kimpo several times, I interviewed a child named Junny, met Potam’s family and heard about the difficulties and agonies Potam, Dabichan, and Sangeeta had to go through. As I became more closely associated with them, I realized their lives in Korea were much harder than I had initially expected it to be. Their bravery to adjust to Korea culture as a complete foreigner was incomparable and their dedication to their heritage as the “Jummas” was indeed remarkable.
Through several months of filming and editing for the documentary <0.7%>, I had the chance to learn about the Jumma people beyond that they were simply “refugees.” I got to learn about their daily lives, when they are happy, whey they are sad, and how I got to laugh and cry with them will be an experience I will cherish for the rest of my life.
If someone asks me who Jumma people are, I would answer that they are naïve and warm refugees who are living their lives to the fullest in Korea. I hope that this documentary which portrays a few aspects of the life as a Jumma in Korea will give our society a similar opportunity.
Seonyeon Sienna Shin