There are days where i love my job and then there are days when i really love my job. Today was a really kind of day.
First of all, when I walked in I saw three newly arrived refugees from Shimelba, one of whom I knew quite well!! The world seemed like such a small place all of a sudden and it was just a really happy moment. In the past month or so, many of my friends from the camp have resettled to the US: my translator Gebar, my favorite shop-keeper Jossy, and Tekle (all mentioned in a previous post). I've had the chance to talk to them on the phone, however none of them were resettled to DC. To see a friend in the office was so fun! And to finally feel like I have the chance to repay some of the kindness and generosity that was shown to me in Shimelba is so exciting.
Secondly, tonight we had a going away party for one of our favorite teachers, Madhav, in the refugee ESL program. I've been coordinating this program for the past year and Madhav joined at the same time I did. He is himself a refugee from Bhutan and is very well loved by his students. He has been studying English for the past 10 or so years and is so able to relate to the struggle of navigating in a world that doesn't speak your mother tongue. It was sad to see Madhav go, but the party was so so great. The students came together, of their own accord and with their limited incomes, and gave really heart-felt gifts. They all stood and said their favorite things about Madhav, which was so great... especially from those who have limited English skills. We even had some former students return to thank Madhav for how much he helped them improve their English skills and share how they were able to get better jobs as a result.
My favorite part of these classes is seeing refugees from all over world interact together. They come from such unique cultures, but they share a bond of being forced to leave their country and settle in a new place. It's so fascinating to watch them come, grow, and learn. They all have such valuable knowledge and experiences, it's just a matter of providing them with the platform (in this case, English) to share it with others.
In conclusion, a paragraph written by one of our Congolese students. They were asked to write, in 5 sentences, something that they do routinely. He is generous with his sentences, but it's beautiful so I'm ok with it...
"I usually work in a farm as a tractor driver. Agriculture is a very good activity. Personally I like it because, when I plant corn or soy beans, it is like I give a life to something, I see it grow, and after, I harvest it and I labor the soil again I replant it's a good job, when your result per hectares is high! Also I know how to work with all the implements as planter, sprayer, disk, spreader. Actually it is a nice world."