One of the biggest issues the refugees I work with face is not being able to find jobs. With the economy as it is (and I know this is a problem many people face today) not being permitted to work (no work visa) makes it even more difficult for them to support themselves and their families.
The other day I was riding my bus to school in the morning and I saw a woman that comes to the Food Distribution each week. I smiled and waved at her; she smiled and waved back, acknowledging my presence on the bus.
After a few stops people got off, so I went back and stood next to where she was sitting. We greeted each other and I asked her what she was doing all the way on the north side of the city. She told me she found a job for the week, cleaning a house in Ramat Aviv. I was so excited to hear she found some work, even if it was only for a week. We then continued to converse in our broken Hebrew until we arrived at the University and I got off.
The funny thing, throughout the ride, was the way people were looking at us. I can only image what we looked like: two very odd peas in a pod… one American girl and one Eritrean refugee speaking in a language that is neither their own.
But for me it was comfort.
Though the differences were clear and obvious to most, for me they didn’t exist on that ride: There were no color differences…. no boundary or origin differences…. no language differences… no status differences….
There were only two friends… talking about life, family, jobs, etc. on a bus in the morning hours of the day.
And I jumped off that bus happy…..
Because, this is what makes everything else WORTH it all!