Helping Refugees

Every year thousands of refugees, fleeing persecution of one sort or another in their own country, are allowed to move to America. Some of these are sent to Raleigh. They arrive in town with $425 per person. They may or may not speak English or have a marketable skill set. There's a lot about living in America they don't know, a lot of stuff they've never seen. Obviously, they need a lot of help.

Our church recently decided to sponsor a refugee family, and Ann and I decided to help out. We volunteerd to take this refugee family shopping, so when we heard they were getting low on food, we went over as a family. We introduced ourselves, and they quickly invited us in and served us juice. After a bit we told them we would take them shopping, and away we went.

First stop was to Fresh Market, because they said they needed fruit and it was within walking distance of where they live. They recognized most of the fruits and vegetables there, but hadn't seen some, like dates or artichokes. While there, they communicated to us that they like coffee. We described what a coffe maker was, and although they had never seen one, they agreed that would be nice. I think the only coffee they have had was instant coffee. Well, Fresh Market didn't have any coffee makers, so Ann pulls out the GPS right there in the store and scans for the nearest Wal-Mart (this was a part of town we weren't familiar with). That was new to them; Ann explained that it was a map. There was a Wal-Mart a couple miles away (isn't there always?), so we piled back into the van.

When we got into Wal-Mart, I think it is safe to say they were stunned at how big it was. They wanted to know if the entire store was owned by one person. We bought them a coffee maker, some coffee and sugar, and a rice cooker, and off we went. Back at their place, we showed them step-by-step how to use it. I think they understood. Hopefully this morning they are enjoying a nice hot cup of coffee.

I think they still have a whole lot to learn about living in America, but they seem quick to adapt and were certainly very friendly and thankful.

No comments: