Taking Refugees to the Library


TODAY WE TOOK the REFUGEES to the library. We walked. There’s a branch just 10 minutes away. Before we went, we spent an hour filling out applications for library cards. We talked about the sentence:

“My ____________is………”

My LAST NAME is…..
My FIRST NAME is……
My HOUSE NUMBER is…..
My STREET is…..
My PHONE NUMBER is…..
My ZIP CODE is …..
My BIRTHDATE is…..

Some do not know their address. They just know what bus they take.

“I take the 23 bus.”
“Where do you get off the bus?”
They shrug. And yet somehow they find their way home each day and come back.

Do they have an ID card?
Most don’t
, or at least not on them. So they can’t speak their address and they aren’t carrying a piece of paper with it written anywhere. It’s probably the parent in me, but just the thought of them in a strange city, not knowing the language, riding the bus and not being able to say their address! I can’t get over it.

We somehow manage to garner the needed information, fill out the applications and take them over there.

At the library, my efforts to pass as an easy-going person are in jeopardy. I feel the weight of the entire Dewey Decimal System on my shoulders as I follow students around, watching where books have been pulled off shelves and put back, to make sure they’ve been put in the right spot.

I’ve written this for my own pleasure, just to say what I did today, but I see that it’s all about addresses and locations being clear and everybody and everything being IN their right spot. It’s about control and panic over the possible lack of it. None of this comes as a surprise.

About Marilyn

Reading, thinking, listening, writing and talking about faith, creativity, ESL for refugees, grief and finding the story in a story. Student of Spanish. Foe of procrastination. Cheez-it fan. People person with hermit tendencies or vice-versa. Thank you so much for reading.
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2 Responses to Taking Refugees to the Library

  1. pastordt says:

    Oh, man, I can SO RELATE. Yes, we think we’re in control — and we try hard to be. But most of life is exactly like this — a bunch of refugees who don’t know their address, trying to figure out a library. PERFECT.

    Like

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