Thursday, October 21, 2010
A Beautiful Iraqi Refugee Family has an American Dream....I need your Help to help them.
"What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others."~Pericles
Background for New Readers and Friends...
As many of you know in Late August I moved to a new Neighborhood, to escape the ForeClosure Hell of Empty Houses, that I was living in. My New neighborhood is full of College Students and Med Students and young families. It is a lively community near a Haight-Ashbury like part of Cleveland. It is truly a Melting pot due to the Medical Community and the Students, and a fair number of Hippies that never left in the Sixties. It is the type hood where neighbors grill on weekends talking over porch railings and there is the gentle clink of beer bottles, there is the smell of sandalwood incense and candles...And many dogs and cats lounging on railings. I moved here with my son to ride out the rest of This Recession, hopefully save for him for College, and see what my MS does next. It is a very nice Transition place....
Meeting the Iraqi Refugee Family....
Now in the process of moving, I walk daily to and from the local little market and hardware store. There has been much cleaning and "Fixing", and in an odd way that is how I met this Lovely Iraqi Family. For every day I would walk by this one apartment building I would see four little girls at the Window of a brick apartment building. Four Little Girls under eight...They had large beautiful eyes and they kept waving as though they knew me. And me, being me, I of course waved back. This had gone on for many weeks. Then this past weekend I saw them out walking with their Papa pointing to me. Again I waved, and said "You have lovely daughters". He beamed proudly.
Hours later I saw him on the street, it was later and people were starting to put their Trash out to the Curb. I always joke that it is the best time to "Curbside Shop". As many here know I fix up old furniture and give to people, and occasionally sell. And many know that I have fixed up my porch just from "Curbside Shopping". But his Curbside endeavors seemed more desperate, more purposeful than mine. He was looking for pots,pans,rugs,warm things. He wanted my old moldy stained carpet that I ripped out of my attic. At that point I struggling in Sign Language and gestures... that I did not think that carpet was safe to take... Then it hit me that he was worried about The Cold. And he said " SNOW? Soon? " And I saw the horrified look in his eyes.
So somehow I asked in with more bumbling signs and gestures if I could meet his family and wife, and baby.So I went with him to his home and saw that he had been collecting rugs, furniture,pots and pans and bedding from the Street. And I saw that his beautiful little girls have thin summer clothes and the beds have only summer bedspreads. And as I met his lovely wife and they made me coffee and as I taught them a little English, I was filled with dread and shame. For they had come to America from Baghdad to live on collected scraps. It felt all Wrong. So wrong, especially after reflecting on what had been done to their Country by Our Country.
At night I would lay awake worrying about Them. Were they warm ? Were the little girls ok ? How could I get them toys and books and even crayons. I am a single mom living on The Edge , how can I possibly help this loving family of seven, I have so little to give....But everyday I have gone back, taking blankets, clothes, a rug, Tea and fruit. And we have all struggled to understand each other. But we smile and laugh.
So today finally I did get someone to translate over the phone. They told translator that they have been problems with their agency, and none or limited followup visits ? (The family told me that the agency has indeed not been back to check on them or offer follow up,according to the Translator) ( But I am still trying to find out what is the Truth/ perception/Reality of the situation ).I do not know if there was a problem with the translation or whether they don't understand what they have been offered or if different translations tell a different story.The Translator did indeed learn from the Papa that I was the only one on my street that had reached out to them offering them much needed Help, Blankets and Friendship. I am saddened and ashamed that their American Dream has started this way.
Correction : As of 10.27.10 There is confusion ,some of it varying from translator to translator, as to what they have been given and what they have been taught and accessed as to Services. I have now offered to work as a Volunteer with the agency to attempt to better help them be assimilated here and become self sufficient. I am scrambling to try to learn what I need to learn to better help them.
I have been reaching out to Churches and Groups and Organizations and will continue to do so, and I will try to get them moved to a Part of Town where there is a thriving Arabic Community. And I will keep trying to gather what they need from clothes to toys to baby supplies to Winter Supplies. I will try to get them the Resources and Help they need. And I will try to teach them English and get them English classes. I have never worked with Refugees other than in the ER, but I will try to get them what they Need.
But I am asking all of you to please think about what you can do to help. I am asking because I hate to see the way their American Dream has begun and I hate to think that they left a war torn Country to come here and live like this...They are a proud beautiful family. Please lets show them what America really is, and Who we are. That we take care of each other, we have Compassion....
"Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
From Ellis Island...Ezra Pound " The Mighty Collosus"
The girls are 2,3,5,and 8 and the Baby Boy is 7.5 monthes. If you think you can help, please do email me or leave me a message in the comments. Namaste.
Saturday Night Update 10.23.10 :::
Well between Blog, Twitter and Facebook I have to say the Compassion that has flowed into my Email has been so amazing....heartfilling. As of tonight we have Coats, Boots, Winter Wear and Mittens and Sweaters and blankets coming from NINE States. We also have Neighbors helping me and two churches. And some has already been arriving I have two large boxed and bags in my Dining room full of wonderful things for the parents and the children...Thank you so much for Caring and Sharing and helping this wonderful family...
( For now the photo is on hold, the parents have worries, so I am sorry, I know some of you wanted to see the children, but for now please trust me they have been glowing each day at the door as they unwrap socks, mittens and crayons....I got really pretty bags from the Dollar store so that opening the bags is more fun....and people have been so kind sending beautiful colors for the girls....)