Tag Archives: Eritrea

Hats on or off?!?

Yesterday during Food Distribution I had a strange little conversation (a term I use very lightly) with a 10-year old boy who likes to come “help” everyday.  He is a a refugee from Eritrea, but likes to hang out with us as much as possible.  Anyways, it was super cold outside, so I was all bundled up…..hat, scarf, gloves etc. which led to our stimulating conversation… (Mind you, I am translating as best as can be done, as the conversation was in Hebrew)

E: Why are you wearing a hat?

Me: Because its cold outside.

E: You like hats?

Me: Yes. I like them.

E: But girls shouldn’t wear hats. It’s not right.

Me: Why not?

E: Its just not good.

Me: But, why not?

E: Only boys wear hats.

Me: Then what can I do? Its cold out.

(to which he just looked at me for a few seconds and shrugged his shoulders with a “what are you talking about” look)

E: Its just not good.

Me: But, why not?

E: Its just not good.

Me: Hmmmmm.

Communication at its finest there!


Two very odd peas in a pod

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!


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