2 cups of gentle humility, 1 cup of meekness mixed well with softened radiance, and a dash of vividness. Serve with a heaping amount of blurred eloquence. This is the recipe I would use if I were trying to recreate the style of writing of all of the narratives we read last week. But no matter how hard I tried, there is no way I could become remotely close to recreating something like that. Each and every story left me astonished, wanting to read more. All of the refugees accounts were different and engaging in a variety of ways yet they all left me asking the same question—“how is that all they have to say?!” They were just children, facing the most unimaginable, violent, brutal situations and yet they wrote about them in such a matter of fact way. It is almost hard to explain. But even though they were matter of fact, there was still, as the recipe calls for, that dash of vividness that left me wanting more. Medina, a girl from Yugoslavia who is now age 14 made an intriguing comparison of man saying, “Looking back on the moments of my joy I come to realize that I was of one of the fortunate ones, spared by the virtue of democracy and man’s capability to care; I see that I am one of only few. While I sat comfortably in Australia saved by democracies empathy others burned at the stake of man’s ability to hate and be vengeful.”
Some sentences would make it seem as if you were there and you would expect the next sentence to be just as dramatic as the precedent, but it wasn’t. The next was humble and brief. Nada, a now 19 year old girl from Sudan described her father getting beaten by authorities as, “They treated my father in a very aggressive way.” It was accounts like this that made me want to scream—“that’s all you have to say about that?!” These characteristics seen through their writing developed a great sense of respect, sympathy, and pride in them for conquering such unthinkable experiences but it also frustrated me. I almost wanted to scream through the pages back at them and tell them that it is ok to be more expressive! Don’t hold back. You can tell through their writing, compared to American writing that they still hold their culture’s sense of modesty, something that Americans tend not to have as much of. I loved reading their accounts; they truly are incredible and I am so glad to be educating myself in something so meaningful that not many other people are aware of.
Sometime last week, I was routinely going through the pile of mail on our kitchen counter. Usually I pick out the important things like bills, coupons, and maybe the occasional card from mom and dad. Almost always, I completely ignore the “Rocktown” Harrisonburg newspaper and chuck it straight in the trash. Ironically though, this week I flipped the news paper open to a random page just to skim through to make sure there weren’t any valuable McDonald’s coupons nestled in the pages. I flipped right to an article titled, “Refugees Like Us.” Immediately I ran to get a post it note and scribbled down 318 article! I read the article and was so excited to see that the local Harrisonburg refugees that Jackie had just talked to us about a few weeks ago were in the newspaper!
This week as well, watching Hotel Rwanda was a great experience. Without the support of my classmates and Aaron around me I don’t think I would have been able to get through that movie by myself. While it was tough, I am very glad we watched it. It gave me a great sense of the reality we are facing with this subject.
I had a random hodge podge of things to touch on this week, but I would like to end my post with a countdown to spring break! And for us, that means just 18 days until we are on our way to Phoenix, AZ to finally experience working with the Lost Boys and Catholic Charities. Cannot wait!