About 2 weeks ago at my internship, I took some shoes to a poor Burundi family of 6 who recently arrived in the US as refugees. I learned two words in Kurundi, "Amaki" means "How are you?" and "Neza" means "good." They all laughed a bit when I tried to say them. It can be awkward to try to work with people who you can't exactly talk to, but I'm learning. It gets less and less awkward the more I do it. The father is definitely trying hard with his English - he would repeat a lot of what I said and say the few words he knew as much as possible. The case managers have told me to emphasize English with refugees, so I kept saying, "shoes" very deliberately and pointing. The father eventually started saying it, too. The children loved their "new" shoes. The youngest girl got lucky with 3 shoes that fit, so she gathered them all around her. The oldest brother, however, managed to jam his feet into a pair of them so he could have his own. I felt bad though, because none of them fit the oldest daughter. I tried to figure out her shoe size so I could get her a pair...but I'm horrible at guessing that kind of thing. I think I might go through some of our old shoes and take them to her to see if any will fit.
Last week, I didn't have much to do at the internship. It was strange because I'm usually running around constantly up there. A new intern started Thursday, Christina, and intern Carl took us and 10 Burmese men on the city bus & train to show everyone how to get around. It was definitely interesting! It took FOREVER. But we did go all the way to the other side of the city.
This week, I'm supposed to meet a new Burundi lady. She's a single mom with 3 children. Burundis are some of the hardest cases, and hers in extra tough. She's never used a light switch, been to school, or anything related to the Western culture. Refugees' journeys certainly don't end once they get here - everything's just beginning! Since she's such a challenging case, I'm going to keep checking up on her for the rest of the summer. Help her with grocery shopping, taking care of the kids, teaching English, and really just being with her. She has no car and no clue about her environment, so I know she must get lonely and tired. I'm really excited about getting to meet with her on a regular basis. I'm usually just in and out of refugees' first few weeks, so it will be good to be more involved with one family.
I'm getting kind of sad though because I only have a month left - & since I'm only working there 2 days a week, that's not much!