Thursday, May 17, 2007

If It Weren't Such A Bad Image I'd Call This Post Hotel Rwanda...

Tomorrow we will host a family of refugees from Rwanda. The house they were due to move into is not ready. They arrive tomorrow afternoon and need some place to stay. So. The church will give them a place to stay for a day or two. A family of seven. A mother, her five children, and a grandmother. We have the room, and showers, and a kitchen. It's not the best. But it will be something. A roof.

This is one of my ministries. I have been working to help resettle refugees for a few years. I care deeply about this. I realize, all too keenly, that I am blessed to live here in this country; to not worry about losing my home, my family, my life to war and politics or worse, genocide.

These refugee families come here after living through incredible violence and fear and loss. They have been dislocated and cannot return "home" because they will lose their lives. That is the primary difference between a refugee and an immigrant - refugees cannot return home for fear of life. So, by the time they are relocated they have survived 10 or 15 years in a refugee camps. Refugees do not have a choice on where they are relocated or when. They can, via a lottery, be relocated to any of the various countries that receive refugees. If they have family in a particular country they stand a good chance of being relocated to be with that family. But if not, you go where ever once your number comes up. They come here with incredible survival skills. They are not, necessarily "happy" to be here, which I think makes sense. They would rather be home, if home were safe. But, they will work hard to build a new life.

Today I bought seven sets of sheets, comforters, pillows, towels, toothbrushes. And food: chicken, eggplant, leeks, oranges, mangos, keifer. Tomorrow seven twin size beds will be delivered to the church.

So, my wish for them during the time they will be staying with us: that we can help them make a good entrance into this county. We can give them comfort, and peace, and privacy. And maybe, hope.


revabi said...

Blessings, I am humbled by your ministry.
I want to watch the movie, but have not been able to bring myself to do so.

mompriest said...

It is a very sad movie, more so because of our complictedness in it all through lack of action. And sometimes because we are not well informed. It is also a movie of hope.

My son had to watch it for his sixth grade class. So. I took him. And weept through most of it.

Homily for the Festive Eucharist at the closing of the Episcopal Women's Caucus

The readings that we chose for the service tonight were all picked specifically for this service because they lift up the role of women ...