Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Kids...... I like.

So I failed to mention in my previous post WHAT I am doing with the refugee kids.....trying to do. Essentially the few times I've been, I noticed that most of these kids are still struggling to fully grasp the English language and American culture much less the 7-8 other different cultures represented in that tiny classroom. I thought it would be really neat if they started sharing with each other about their own cultures. I mean they are in a cultural jackpot, if you will. I'm sure they all have amazing stories to share. Hence, I want to initiate a regular 'program' where we would highlight one country where some of these kids are from. The first one we did was Malaysia. I had traveled there before so I brought some pics and props from my travel. I tried to make it as fun as possible.... I think it was received ok but I can't really tell. I just know at the end of the class one of the girls came up to me and shared with me her treasured family photos from Malaysia. This moment was.. well priceless. These pics may have been the only pics she had of her home and some family members (her immediate family fled here with her). I asked her why she came here. She began to tell me about how her father worked for the police, something politically bad happened (possibly a shift in power or something) and her father and family were in danger so they had to flee. Now, please excuse the completely terrible retelling of her story but this was done in broken English between us (for those of you who don't know me, I tend to....'adapt' to my environments. In that I mean, if someone speaks a certain way, I try to speak the same way too, thinking that I sound just like them and it makes them feel more comfortable. However, Haley and Jamila will be the first to tell you....I can't sound Irish, Kenyan, British or Aussie no matter how hard I try. In fact, I sound like a confused idiot). Anyways, point being that in this little run down apartment complex in Chinatown, Houston, TX held a completely different world where a group of kids from all over the world have these stories that need be shared and heard. Even if thats among themselves, its powerful. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to go back yet but I plan to highlight Thailand next (where the majority of the kids are from). If you're in Houston and interested in joining.... lemme know!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Soooo what now?

Well I've officially been back in Houston for about 6 months now! Uhhh, wow. I doubt anyone will read this since I haven't been posting for...well 6 months. Life post-Kenya? To be quite honest, I feel rather lost at this time. Call it a pre-mid life crisis but essentially I have no idea what I want to pursue next. Stability in the whole white picket fence, kids, family, job, house thing seem more appealing than before, but then again... I don't think I'll ever shake my travel/culture bug. Maybe I can have my cake and eat it too. Anyways, my time in Kenya definitely reaffirmed my love of working with kids (thanks to my time at the child welfare center in Embu - I still think about what would have happened if I adopted my dear boy, Francis, there) but I'm not sure how I will go about it now. I have volunteered a couple times with an after-school program for refugee kids in Houston and it has been fabulous! Absolutely amazing how many refugees are here in Houston! I love the diversity here. These kids are... well.... also amazing. I have met some who have picked up English (can hold a decent conversation) within a couple months. Can you imagine going to a public school and sitting in class the first day not understanding a lick of what people are saying?! I am continually amazed at the resiliency of children wherever I go. They encourage me to bounce back and press on. Anyways, I guess my posts here on out will be more of how I progress on my career/life path and well, anything else random that comes into mind. My dearest friend Haley will be going to Kenya (ironically enough). Blessing and prayers to her!
My next trip??? Aiming for Morroco or Turkey. :) Inshallah...