Sunday, February 23, 2020

Trump is Coming for their Pencils!

I noticed an article from the New York Times on Friday, January 31st. I was about to teach my US citizenship class to Somali refugees. As I read it, my heart broke. When my translator came in, I gave him my phone and asked him to translate for the class. I was shaking.

The refugees I teach come from E. Africa, which includes Somalia, part of the original Muslim ban, and Tanzania under this new ban. There is no justification for this. It’s discrimination because of race and religion. Saudi Arabians flew those planes into the towers and pentagon. My students are from impoverished African countries, some torn apart by civil war. They have spent a decade, sometimes two, in UN camps. It is common for the camps themselves to come under fire. Before being allowed to come here, my students were pre-cleared in their home countries for settlement in the US. This makes them refugees, entitled to a green card, and not asylum seekers, although both carry a legal status to be in the United States.

My students speak a dialect, Mawa. It is spoken and not written. When they come here and learn English, they may be writing for the first time.

I asked them whether they wanted to talk about the article or learn the lesson. As they saw, I am going through the civics questions of the test faster to get them citizenship faster. Still, many are far away from attaining it.

I assured them when I began teaching that nothing would happen to them because they were green card holders and allowed to be in the United States. Today, February 23, I saw another article about further limiting the benefits they can receive here. Now I can only say I hope it won’t get worse, but they should be prepared.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Let Me Speak - Jacqueline

Loving a drug addict is the hardest thing you will ever do. Watching someone you love, that has fought so hard to beat addiction, throw everything away and sink back into a life that will most likely lead to jail or death, is one of the hardest things some will ever do. Even though all you want is to help them get back to a clean, healthy, and sober life, at some point, you realize you are enabling the addiction, as you have so many times before. You continue enabling them by always listening to the excuses, blaming yourself, and being there to bail them out. You want to grab and shake them and say "You have so much to live for and so many that love you, why do you continue doing this with your life?" But, at some point you realize that wouldn't make a difference no matter how much you love them or how hard you try to help them. So you sit on the sidelines and watch the tragedy unfold, feeling helpless to stop it, feeling like you haven't done enough to help, when in the end, the only truth to it all is, you can only begin to help the addict when the addict decides to help themselves.

Battling a drug addiction is a beast for the person addicted and the ones who love them. It's heartbreaking and earth shattering. So l am asking you to stand with me in prayer for every family member and friend who has lost or is losing their battle with drugs and alcohol and those who continue to conquer it!