Acknowledge

Sitting in the library again. It’s March now. I’m beginning to find my foothold in this city. And it worries me as much as it comforts me.

My boss announced to a room full of student volunteers today that they were finding full time employment for me at my job.

I love my job. I love the populations I am serving from all around the world. And the volunteers who are so inspired, and almost annoying in their zeal most days.

And then there is the refugee volunteer base that we’re building. We’re doing all of this from the ground up. I’m learning community organizing as well as refugee resettlement. 

But I just have a hard time saying I’m going to stay.

I’m barefoot in the library. Armpit hair coming out in little tufts next to my maroon tanktop. I have on black jeans, and I feel the part.

On the table next to me is a book, “Freedom from Oil.” Ironically, it has a quarter atop it.

Where do I even start? Friday I met a young Honduran immigrant who was seeing his mom for the first time in 13 years.

I gave five power presentations about my life, career and refugees to middle schoolers for three hours straight on Tuesday. They asked great questions. Each class was different.

One class asked about the background check fears for refugees– I asked how many were scared of refugees coming to our country, and the whole class raised their hands. Don’t even know the definition of a refugee, but think they should be scared. Because of this election. 

The next class, a girl asked about assimilation. And wasn’t it like we were taking their beautiful individualism away from them? By training new refugee arrivals in American culture and English, we were basically expecting them to leave everything else behind.

Then finally, the last class a girl asked about homeless populations. And how do we have time to help refugees, when American people are out on the street? The students started debating, and it was great. They were so smart, and were going places that grown adults only ever dream of addressing.

Before I left, the teacher in the room asked to hear my answer to the student’s questions.

Oh man, I thought.

And then I began to talk about the global community, and how we were a part of it. And yes, we have a lot of problems to solve in our own country, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore the people outside of our country who are suffering.

The school– a private school for underprivileged kids who were all minorities in society as far as I met– was also beautiful to be in. For me to be such a minority again. Such a minority- I’m addicted to putting myself in situations where others are not like me. And not necessarily thinking like me- but finding that bond with the smile, and the simple acknowledgement of the person in them, the person in me.

.

 

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