Sunday, Fun-day, Refugee-day

March 28, 2010

I work with a family of Refugees from Nepal/Bhutan. There are 15 members of the family and it’s growing. This week 4 more arrived.. here’s the skinny:

Grandma/Grandpa

Brother 1/Wife 1  – Baby on the way

Brother 2/Wife 2  –  2 kids

Brother 3/Wife 3  –  4 kids

Brother4

This week Wife 2’s Brother and his wife and 2 kids came to Nashville. Confused yet?

I was originally assigned to just Brother 3 and his wife and kids. However, there simply aren’t enough volunteers for each sub-unit of the family to have their own “mentor”  so I am working with all of them.

I’ve been helping this family since last July. I signed on to work with them for 3 months while they were getting settled in the US. I was to help them understand our culture and customs and introduce them to the many unfamiliar things they would find here.  The family had been living in a bamboo hut with dirt floors for the past 18 years in the refugee camp in Nepal. Imagine moving from there into an apartment complex with carpet, electricity, strange appliances and all kinds of new, interesting gadgets (the day I had to explain the microwave and how it magically makes a cup of water boil in seconds illustrates just one of the countless new technologies they have experienced since they arrived).

Now my commitment to the family has passed. I just spend time with them at this point because we are friends though they still need much assistance. They don’t have a vehicle which makes life next to impossible at times. Nashville has very ineffective public transportation leaving them few options for getting to work, going shopping, visiting friends in other parts of town…   I visit them on Sundays and we usually go to the grocery store. They live within walking distance of a Kroger but they like to go to the Indian market and the World Market which are a few miles away. By the time we return from our shopping trip my SUV is usually loaded down with several 40lb bags of rice, tons of vegetables (most of which I’ve never seen before), a few dozen mango juice boxes and a variety of other things.

Squid Pickle - Rose Petal Spread - White Carrots

In the past year I have learned so much from this family and their experiences. Their ability to persevere through the many uphill battles they have faced since they have arrived is inspiring. They have greatly impacted my life and helped me understand the struggles millions are facing as refugees in camps around the world. I wish I could share their story with everyone I see. I wish I could help others, other Americans, rethink their often negative opinions of immigrants.

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”

~ Moulin Rouge

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One Response to “Sunday, Fun-day, Refugee-day”

  1. Mom said

    Yuck! Squid Pickle? Now there’s a name for a band! : )

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