Friday, August 15, 2008

Cornflakes, cheese and other weird stuff...

Today I had the fun of introducing one of my students to the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program -- and her first taste of cornflakes and cheese. In the midst of learning about colors, shapes, and family members, this pretty young lady from Burundi brought out her purse and showed me the WIC coupons she'd been given. Just in from a refugee camp in Tanzania, she didn't know how to use the coupons. As a matter of fact, neither did I!With the baby on her back, we went to a wonderful neighborhood grocery store. The staff there led us around and helped us choose the correct products. My student did not want the cereal or cheese on her coupons, but I put them in the cart anyway. When we got back to her apartment, we unloaded the groceries. We talked about the refrigerator, cockroaches, and other essential information. Then it was time to give cornflakes a try. She ate a cupful with condensed milk. I'd call that a resounding success.

Then we opened the cheese. Baby and mom had the same reaction. Yuck!!!Mom stuck with her opinion about cheese. But it wasn't long before baby had changed her mind.At my next student's house, the family was under some stress. That morning, they had gone to school to register two of the older children. The 19 year old announced that she did not want to go to 9th grade. She is tired of school and wants to get a job. Her big sister agreed that making a 19 year old go to 9th grade was terrible. "Georgia!" she scoffed. "It's very bad!"

Dad's opinion was clear. "It's not my problem," he said.

After a few tears, some stubborn silence, and much discussion in Swahili, Kirundi, English, and maybe a little French, the family came to a truce. I'm going to help look into GED programs and other options. I'll also call in the large support system that is available to this family. By the end of the conversation, both beautiful girls were chatting amiably, and I even got a smile out of them.Mom wanted a ride to the "Somali store." She wore her prettiest outfit, a skirt and blouse she had brought from Africa. While I drove her to the store, she proudly began to talk to me about the English class she's taking at a nearby church She told me the names of body parts -- even pointing out such obscure things as calf, chest, neck, and elbow. We went on to discuss colors, all of which she knew. I was so happy to see this woman smiling, holding her head up, and feeling good about herself.
This woman and I have known each other for quite a while, and I have prayed for her a long time. Today after stepping out of my car, she leaned back in. With a huge smile on her face, she said a phrase she had learned in class, "Nice to meet you!"

"Nice to meet you, too," I called back.

To our blog readers, I want to say a big thank you for your prayer support. Every day, I see God's hand at work in the lives of these families -- and in my own. For a full report on Andrei's big news, you'll have to wait for the next blog. Meanwhile, please keep remembering the refugees of Atlanta in your prayers.

1 comment:

Dina said...

What a full life you have! We are praying for you. My heart is going out for these special ones. We are also looking forward to hearing about Andrei's big news!
Because of His love,
Dina