KennedysOnline

These are a few of my favorite things

Last night, I asked my ESL students to create a drawing of their favorite things to share with our class.  Many students in my class are refugees, that is, they have been resettled by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees because conditions in their countries of origin are simply too dangerous.  War, ethnic strife, starvation and persecution are common reasons.

Not only do their stories remind me that to be born into the United States is an unmerited blessing, but also that these new neighbors carry with them experiences of life and loss that I am privileged to hear and to learn from.  Several of my students hold Master’s Degrees – yet they are now looking for janitorial or fast food employment. Others waited for more than two decades to find a country willing to resettle them – and in the meantime, made their lives in refugee camps.

Today, a photo gallery of a few of my favorite people – brave men and women, through the providence of God, starting life over in Richmond, Virginia.

Hong from Vietnam

Hong from Vietnam

Madi from Nepal

Madi from Nepal

Ariel from Argentina

Ariel from Argentina

Methna from Iraq

Methal from Iraq

Tram from Vietnam

Tram from Vietnam - Tram was a driver for the US Army in the 1970's. Punished by the Communists after the collapse of Vietnam, he was unable to work. Tram waited until 2004 for the US to grant him a visa. Last fall, he became a citizen of the United States. On his drawing of favorite things, he painstakingly drew a map of his new country.

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