Friday, May 18, 2007

Refugee Temporary "Home"

So. They arrived. A mom and her five kids and a grandmother. After sixteen hours of travel, the youngest is four, the oldest is 60 something. They looked completely shell shocked. Totally overwhelmed. We took them on tour and showed them how to use ovens and microwaves. Only one speaks English, and that one quickly turned the TV to Friends...ahhh. So much is universal. I know we overwhelmed them with info. I know I will need to review with them later. When they are rested. We had to instruct them to watch the kids, the little ones, nine and four. We have a fenced in playground the kids aren't used to fencess. In Africa the kids run free in their towns. No cars, or few cars. We have lots of traffic, lots of cars. So much could happen.

I wanted to cry. I wanted to hug them. I wanted to say, "It will be ok." But right now they are probably in no place to hear that. They aren't even in their new home. They are all housed in one room of a church. Granted, they have lots of room to roam in the church. But their official space is one room and a hallway. Still. It's safe. Warm.

Today I made up seven beds. Each one has it's own comforter and comforter cover in bright colors, seven different ones. The kids quickly choose their bed based on color, I think. That is what I hoped. That by at least giving them color they would have some choice.

So. For now. They have beds, food, some privacy, and a place for the kids to play. They even have a TV. Which since only one of them speaks English is intersting. The rest speak a dialect of French. I could understand a few words: quatre, size four for flip flops.

In a few days they will be gone. Moved to their new home. I will never see them again. That's ok. I just hope they find a good life, at last, in this city and this country. Because I am sure they really deserve and need it.

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