I mentioned a few weeks ago that Daniel and I were going to begin volunteering with World Relief, an organization that works with refugees during the first six months after arriving in the U.S. We have received our first assignment, and yesterday we got to meet them for the first time. We had a blast!
The family is from the country of Bhutan, but they have been living in a refugee camp in Nepal for 18 years. Can you even begin to imagine what it must be like to live for that long in a camp with no place to really call home? And now all of the camps are gradually being closed, and the 80,000 refugees are being relocated to different countries. I found a helpful website that concisely explains the situation of Bhutanese refugees here.
This family of five (husband and wife, two kids, and husband’s brother) have no other family here, and they know no one. Everyone that they have ever known will soon be scattered across the world. Can you even imagine?.... They have been here about a month, and this was their first chance to go out and do something fun. The two-year-old little girl sat in a car seat beside Madeline. We had only been on the road for a couple of minutes when the little girl pointed at Madeline and said, “didi” – Sister. Before long they were passing toys between them. And before I knew it they were trading pacifiers. Oh dear. But it delighted me.
We went to a free concert of the Nashville Symphony on the Peabody lawn at Vanderbilt. We had a picnic supper, and there were lots of other kids there. We had such fun listening to the music, eating lots of cookies, going to the bathroom and teaching them about the automatic faucets and hand dryers, letting the five-year-old boy push the button to make the handicap door open automatically, and having a bubble blowing party with about a dozen other kids.
Daniel, Madeline, and I feel so blessed after our time with our new friends last night. I can’t wait to do it again!