Friday, October 29, 2010
Update on Our Iraqi Family.....And Some Good News...
I have been looking at old photos and I realize that somewhere we all have photos of People in our own families who Came From Somewhere Else...with that Lost Look in their eyes. Yet when you look at the photos there is Something Else, a Yearning....Hope.
Update 2 weeks after meeting The Family....
(This is the first post about meeting the Iraqi Refugee Family on our Street that I wrote about 10 days ago.) The past two weeks have been very busy and full trying to get the Family what they need and navigating the Refugee System here. Some of the first few days were spent assessing what the family needed and also trying to smooth the rough edges of the Confusion they were experiencing. The Agency that I had concerns about I soon realize needs more Hands on deck and extra help, so now I am volunteering with them and learning their system and how to access and advocate for the family better.And much has happened since my first post. I still visit them almost daily.
The family is getting more settled and for now are staying in their apartment and we are getting their heat fixed. They now have many more blankets and warm clothes and more are coming daily. We have made trips to the Market and they are learning more about the Food here and how to get what they need. (English Labelling is confusing for Arabic Speaking people as the alphabet is so different.) They are using their coupons for WIC now and understand the EBT card now ( and realize it is not a Debit card). I am so grateful for the Internet Community who have really come through. Everyday there has been packages on my porch, it is almost like Christmas. Even my neighbors now come out the door to inspect the boxes and packages. I carefully wrap the gifts in colorful Dollar Store Holiday bags and I always say it is a Welcome Gift and at home I am keeping a Map with Gold Stars on it of where everything is coming from. Everybody has been so kind with my assigning a Task or special mission, and I can only say thank you so much for helping this Family.
This week has been a better week, finally the children are playing and acting silly and Laughing. Their wonder at the Leaves changing outside the apartment window, and their big eyes as the Leaves Fall. ( I reassured them that the Leaves will be back in Spring.). And in the afternoons Mama and I try to practice English and I try to learn Arabic. And I realized yesterday that mama now says Radiator with a Baltimore accent and some other words with a Southern Accent. And they all laugh when I act out words. And there was much laughter today when I got the Arabic word for Husband and Heat confused.And we have found some Arabic Connections, people willing to help translate on the phone and we pass the phone back and forth to find out what is needed for the family and share information.
Dad is taking English classes and starting to take car mechanic classes and also is looking for work, he too seems more positive and hopeful. So we hope to find him work soon, he is very motivated and wants to provide for his family, Pride is a very big part of the Men in Iraq. He was a truckdriver, and I can tell he really misses driving a truck.
Beautiful Coats arrived today and it is in the 40s and the coats arrived in beautiful colors and the girls eyes were huge and they tried them on and I could see they were so happy to have Their Own NEW coat just for them. And tomorrow I go get the Boots to match, and the feet are all measured. It is amazing if Heat is on and there are warm clothes how that can make someone feel better, feel loved, cared for.
Mama has been cooking and I did find a Lebanese Market that had some of what she needed for spices and she cooked for me today and it was lovely smell ,the spices and letting her give back too. She is a lovely mom , gentle with her children and at times I have heard her talk to them, and we both smile knowingly, because even though I don't speak Arabic I knew she was saying Mom things...."Like be nice to your sister".
I can share this now with her permission, Mama is pregnant and yes it happened while living in the Refugee Camps in Lebanon and no it was not really planned. And yes she is scared and worried and sad that family is not here to be with her. It is my mission to get her a good doctor and get her the best care possible. So by next week I hope to have her prenatal care started.She is over 6.5 Months pregnant so she should be having the baby in January but we will find out more and also check her dates, and make sure it is all ok. It will be a Csection so there will be much to plan.
A New Project that I would Like to have your Help and Enthusiasm : The Twilt -The Twitter Quilt
Mama is nervous about this baby and sad. I want to help her feel excited and happy about this baby. So I came up with the Idea with Some Twitter friends ( Lisa) that we start making her a Quilt for her American baby, And people from every state can send just one 6X6 in Square of Fabric and it will be put in the Quilt. People can donate a square of Something that reminds them of their Home State to share with this Mom and baby. I also ask that we keep Some green in the Square as a unifying Color if possible. ( Green because we don't know the gender). Please do leave me message in Comments or do Email me. Or Find me on Twitter @watergatesummer.
To Everyone that has given wonderful gifts the Family asked me to Thank you.....I will have a photo soon..I also explained to the mom I want to keep a Photo album for her....
Photo from Friday Night 10.29.10,
While waiting for the Heat to be repaired....We tried to carve a pumpkin, and we made Toasted Pumpkin seeds..except they burnt.I tried to read hair product directions ( in french) and translate to ???? and Baby is now sitting up, crawling, and trying to cruise, all of this happened in the past two weeks. And the girls are enjoying Halloween,even though they don't quite understand....and one of the little ones was sick, so there popsicles and 7up to get....But all in all there are Smiles on a Friday Night...and Thanks to help from all. ( I apologize for the blurry photo, the cellphone autofocus is lousy....they are a beautiful family)