Today is World Refugee Day, a day designated to consider the plight of refugees, the contributions of refugees and how we might make their transition to our own countries easier.
For the past few years, I have volunteered in various capacities with the Kentucky Refugee Ministry (KRM). My jobs have been very insignificant, serving food, playing with children, welcoming newcomers at the airport as in the photo below. I always, however, learn something important from these experiences.
I have found these people to be so grateful for each kindness offered to them. They progress quickly under the leadership of KRM Caseworkers and quickly assimilate into the community working and going to school.
This year, so far, I have personally welcomed 40 individual refugees from countries such as the Congo, Myanmar, and Afganistan. Most have been living in refugee camps for years. Some have been surviving in terrible conditions in such camps for as long as twenty years waiting for their turn to migrate to a country where they can establish a home for their family.
“Refugees are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, with the same hopes and ambitions as us—except that a twist of fate has bound their lives to a global refugee crisis on an unprecedented scale.”- Khaled Hosseini
I’ve introduced Minnie to you before. If you missed those posts, I’d suggest you use the Search feature on the Home Page to search for “Minnie.” She is a person I’d like you to know more about and her stories are worth your time.
Over twenty years ago Minnie, my Mom died and after the visitation and funeral services came time to settle her estate. The business was tiresome, frustrating and seemed to drag on for longer than it should have. I’ve since learned that even that gigantic chore had an emotional benefit. I thought I knew all about Mom, I had cared for her for the past few years and had dearly loved her for my fifty-five years of life. I had a few more things to learn as I began to clear out her home for sale and she had a few more smiles to present.
Besides old photos and clothes and all the household items anticipated, there were boxes, a basement full of boxes. How did I not know that my Mother had kept nearly every box of every item she had ever bought in her eighty-one years of life? I exaggerate only slightly. The boxes contained not the original items, most of those were nowhere to be found. What they did contain was the instruction papers or booklet that came with the fan or mixer or vacuum, neatly folded and attached to the box flap.
Other plentiful items were plastic rain bonnets, yellowed obituaries, new unused wallets, and keys, keys, and more keys. There were keys everywhere in the house. Some were in little-zippered pouches, some were on chains or tied with ribbon and still, others were just laying there, all alone without other keys to keep them company. My job was to try to determine what the keys locked and unlocked. I eventually gave up, but not until I had spent hours of investigative work thinking about my Mom and wondering if she was somewhere laughing at my confusion.
I’ve already planted keys, lots of keys for my daughters to find after I die!
“No one can drive us crazy unless we give them the keys.”