FATHERLY – Michiel Huisman didn’t know what to expect when he traveled to the sprawling Bidi Bidi Refugee Camp in Northern Uganda. Swollen by refugees fleeing the conflict in South Sudan, the world’s largest refugee camp sits in a politically unstable region that endured decades of damages inflicted by Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army, civil wars, and skirmishes over resources before conflict broke out north of the nearby. There’s only so much a person can do to prepare to visit a place like that so Huisman, famous for his role as Daario Naharis on Game of Thrones and acting as an ambassador for Save the Children, got ready to do the one thing he knew he could: Take it all in. He knew he’d have to describe the trip to both his daughter and to others, maybe even people in a position to help. He packed a camera.
When he speaks about what he saw, he does so tentatively. Huisman is aware of his privileged status as a witness and of his own ignorance. There is, after all, a massive difference between witnessing, understanding, and experiencing. Less strident Hollywood activist than traveler, Huisman sticks to descriptions and dwells on the humanity of the people he met. He’s respectful. He talks about the refugees as people, never casting them as hapless victims or describing their experiences as merely the symptoms of a broader problem. For a man who, thanks to his good looks, inevitably plays the most commanding guy in the room, Huisman sounds small. And that’s a compliment.
His manner of speaking seems indicative of both how he thinks of himself as a man and a father–just a guy trying to help–and of the magnitude of the mission he’s assigned himself. Through Save the Children, he’s determined to advocate for kids less comfortable than his own. Fatherly spoke to Huisman about his what he saw, what he brought home, and how he talks to his daughter about the world.