Imagine having only a few minutes to gather your belongings before fleeing your home forever.

Next, Jodi Pipes wants you to think about where you’re going to get water, food and medical care.

For the thousands of people who came through the Doctors Without Borders exhibit, A Refugee Camp in the Heart of the City, in Confederation Park over the last few days, it was an eye-opening look into what it’s like to be a refugee.

But, as Pipes has seen firsthand, it’s reality for the world’s 42 million refugees and internally displaced people.

Pipes, an outreach nurse with Doctors Without Borders, spent six months in southern Sudan in 2007, providing primary health care and vaccinations and training community health workers.

“It’s an ongoing, chronic emergency,” said Pipes of the situation in Sudan. Issues there include malaria, HIV and tuberculosis.

The exhibit, said Pipes, is an awareness-raising campaign that will also be travelling to Montreal, then Toronto and Waterloo, to teach visitors about the challenges refugees face through stations focusing on food, shelter, medical care, water supply, health clinics, nutrition and vaccinations.

“It gives the public the chance to experience what it might be like to be a refugee,” said Pipes. “It’s very important for people to know and just to be aware. Forty-two million people — that’s more than the population of Canada — had to flee their homes. They basically lose everything.

This is a good opportunity for people to see the reality of this.”

Doctors Without Borders is independently funded, said Pipes. “It’s basically through the generosity of people that we’re able to work in the countries that we do.”