- Rebecca J. Hopp
Today was a day of celebrating! Both Marti and my LTP classes wrapped up today by combining classes we were able to have our students meet and discuss issues in Kakuma. It was wonderful to hear the adult students share their thoughts and perspectives, my students were still quite shy but I know they benefited from hearing and participating in the discussion. We talked about the negative aspects of their communities - sexual assault, lack of food, lack of water, wind, security, the hot hot sun, the dust; positive- many cultures learning to live as one- as human beings, community, development of businesses, education opportunities, safety from war. We also spoke about identity and labels- how they view being labeled as refugee can be a positive because they come together with a common bond, but it can be seen by others as a burden- financially or culturally. It was an enlightening conversation that I hope can continue as I train Marti's adult students tomorrow to be LTP teachers here in Kakuma.
Our afternoon continued with lunch, dancing, a photo exhibition "One Thread" and certificates of achievement! I was excited to share some of the books that we brought from Houston with our students. After, I had to say goodbye to my students as I leave on Friday, but our afternoon with students ended with a bus ride/dance party through the roads of Kakuma! We were having so much fun they literally told the bus driver they weren't getting off the bus and circle back around the camp.
After our party bus adventure, Marti and I walked into the camp to pick up my newly handmade dresses and get Marti fitted for her clothing. Following this we sat with Amina who is in the process of being resettled and is here in the camp without her family, she had many questions about life in the US (and other places), it was amazing to share the things she could be doing in the future at school and life in general! Once Amina left, we visited with another young woman, as she is waiting for her flight to the US to Arizona. It is wonderful to see her excitement and sad at the same time to know that she is separating from her family and going alone. I hope that anyone who is reading this will take the time to reach out to anyone newly settled refugee and give them a helping hand- can you imagine moving to country where everything is different- how you cook, get places, speak, conduct business etc and on top of that perhaps have to leave my family behind knowing that you may never see them face to face again. Reach out to these folks- do simple things and be friends to help make the transition just a bit easier.
I found this quote this evening, something beautiful to ponder.
Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. -Chief Seattle