“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? / The world would split open.”
Poet Muriel Rukeyser

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.

RevGals Friday Five: The Big Event

Songbird over at RevGals says:Did you know that the major purpose for forming a non-profit, RevGalBlogPals, Inc., was to be able to attract grant support for a large scale RevGalBlogPal meetup? My dream from the beginning has been attracting financial support that would allow as many of our bloggers to be together as possible.

RGBP, Inc. now has a planning committee, and we are in the early stages of planning the RevGalBlogPal Big Event. What, When, Where and Who are all on the table at the moment. In that spirit, I bring you the Big Event Friday Five.

1. What would the meeting be like? (Continuing Ed? Retreat? Outside Speakers? Interest Groups? Workshops? Hot Stone Massages? Pedicures? Glorified Slumber Party?) I enjoy a combination of learning opportunities with plenty of rest and reflection time built in. I like speakers who give me something to ponder during that reflection time.

2. When in 2008 might you be able to attend? January? Shortly after Easter? Summer? Fall? Some other time? Life remains uncertain. But I would guess either a Lenten retreat or after Easter and into the summer.

3. Where would your dream meeting location be? (Urban Hotel? Rural Retreat Center? New England Camp? Southwestern Fantasy Hotel? Far away from civilization? Nearby Outlets or Really Great Thrift Stores?) Because I like lots of time to reflect I prefer places where I can hike or walk. Some conference centers are in or near cities but have walking grounds which accomplishes both.

4. Who would make a great keynote speaker? (That's if #1 leads us in that direction.) There is a lay woman in Chicago who is a phenomenal speaker and retreat leader. She is a former RC nun, seminary prof in Hebrew, and OT scholar, very witty and funny, great stories. We could reflect on women in the OT? Or Women in the Bible? She does a fabulous presentation on the Psalms. She also presents on the Gospel of John. And she is a trained cathechist and Godly Play leader for kids...really she would be incredible.

5. Did I leave out something you want to suggest? Oh yes. Private bedrooms and bathrooms are always a great treat. We'll probably pay more, but oh so nice.

Dream big for the Big Event!!!