LIRS: Learn. Tell. Be.

October 16, 2009

LEARN. Learn.LEARN. learn.Learn

T E L L.tell. tell. Tell. TELL.tell. TEll. teLL.

BE. be. BE. be. be. be. be. be. bE. be. be. be. be. Be.


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Updated Travels

October 14, 2009

Sunday, October 4th: Gettysburg Seminary ELCA youth fair

Thursday, October 9th: Meeting with an immigration attorney in downtown Baltimore

Friday, October 10th: Meeting in Landenburg, PA/ connecting with a woman that assisted in resettling a family from Kosovo

Tuesday, October 13th: Meeting in Sevens Valley, PA/ connecting with a woman who assisted in refugee resettlement after the Golden Venture event in 1993

Sunday, October 25th- Monday, October 26th: Lancaster, PA/ meeting with an LIRS affiliate, meeting with and interviewing case workers/refugees

November 4th- 7th: Philadelphia, PA/ Foster Case visit

November 26th-30th: Thanksgiving weekend

December 1st-2nd: Utica, NY/ Meeting with an affiliate in Utica. Learning about the “town that loves refugees

December 3rd: Albany, NY/Meeting with UNSEEN AMERICA NYS

Harriet

October 14, 2009

Today I met Harriet.

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As I walked to the door of her large brick farmhouse, and raised my fist to begin knocking gently, the door opened. A petite woman with short brown hair and large oval glasses stood smiling under the wooden frame. There she was, in all of her glory: a brilliant, beautiful retired woman who is referred to around the world as “mom” by more people then I have fingers and toes. As I entered her beautiful aged home and walked through her living room into the kitchen, little did I know of the brilliant life that so frequently fills this ordinary looking space.

Harriet and her husband Ray greeted me warmly and we began chatting immediately as I took a seat at their kitchen table. We spoke for a while about their up and coming trip to Florida, and before long I had viewed an entire photo album of family members and warm-climate memories. We continued talking around the kitchen table and the topic changed slowly; we began to discuss Harriet’s involvement in refugee resettlement communities. As it just so happens, there are a plethora of people running around the world, all from different walks of life, who have at least one thing in common: they have all encountered the deep love and compassion of this wonderfully caring woman.

As I sat and listened to Harriet tell the stories of her friends and family, it was as if I could see her heart sitting plainly in front of me, beating on the wooden table. Stories of religious, political, and sexual discrimination. Stories of rape, violence, war and persecution. All of these stories, all connected to people with names, faces, families. All significant and beloved pieces of Harriet’s heart. What a joy it is, to sit down with another individual, so ready and able to articulate their passion and love for the world and the people in it.

We sat together for three hours. More stories came in the form of visitors; a man from India who came to the United States with his wife; a woman who was beaten in India, both of her arms broken in the name of religion.

I heard stories of people from Ghana, Iraq, Cameroon, Kosovo, China, Vietnam, and Congo. Stories of genital mutilation and human trafficking. Stories of fear, anger, and anxiety. All of these stories, found while sitting around a kitchen table in the middle of Pennsylvania.

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Harriet, you are an incredible woman.

So Far, So Good.

October 12, 2009

My meetings this past week have gone beautifully. First, I met with a human rights attorney in her downtown Baltimore office. We spent some time discussing my project, and what her involvement with it might look like. It was absolutely delightful and became yet another addition to my excitement over this project. I will meet with her again later this month soon to do some filming.

Friday I took a drive up to the BEAUTIFUL farmland of Pennsylvania to meet with a lovely woman who single handedly organized her church congregation in Delaware to assist in the resettlement of a family from Kosovo. She had incredible and inspiring stories. I have high hopes of continuing conversation with her, and possibly getting to meet this resettled family.

Tomorrow I will be traveling to yet another part of  PA to meet with a woman who assisted in resettling families after the Golden Venture event (took place in New York City, 1993. A boat carrying 283 Chinese people crashed in a New York City Harbor).

I will continue to keep you posted on my travels, especially the things that I am learning and thinking about. I hope to begin posting some videos soon!

This afternoon I begin a series of interviews, my first interview being with an immigration lawyer in downtown Baltimore. I was just sitting here in my triangle shaped cubicle at the good old Lutheran Center thinking about what a treat this is for me; my job is like the ultimate educational experience. I am interviewing people on camera and putting together videos about immigration and refugee issues so that others may learn about what is going on in the world. As I sit and listen and record people talking and sharing about what they do, it is so evident to me that I am very, very clearly a member of my targeted audience. These videos are intended for people just like me. I am so excited to learn and hear, and understand new parts and pieces of what is going on in the lives of SO MANY people in the world.

I get to spend a year taking a crash course on refugees, and as I learn, hundreds of others get to learn with me. Ah, people, this is VERY cool.

My Tenative Schedule is as follows:

Sunday, October 4th: Gettysburg Seminary ELCA youth fair

Thursday, October 9th: Meeting with an immigration attorney in downtown Baltimore

Friday, October 10th: Meeting in Landenburg, PA/ connecting with a woman that assisted in resettling a family from Kosovo

Tuesday, October 13th: Meeting in Sevens Valley, PA/ connecting with a woman who assisted in refugee resettlement after the Golden Venture event in 1993

Tuesday October 20th- Thursday October 22nd: Lancaster, PA/ meeting with an LIRS affiliate, meeting with and interviewing case workers/refugees 

November 4th- 7th: Philadelphia, PA/ Foster Case visit

November 26th-30th: Thanksgiving weekend

December 1st-2nd: Utica, NY/ Meeting with an affiliate in Utica. Learning about the “town that loves refugees

December 3rd: Albany, NY/Meeting with UNSEEN AMERICA NYS