Alright, so this post will contain our third and fourth visits to our refugee family.
When Anna and I showed up for our third visit, we found that the entire family was there. We decided that we were going to start working on their English, we still were unable to have conversation with them, so we decided that this is the best that we can do for the family at this point in time. Anna worked with the mother, writing and sounding out words. I worked with the father sounding out words and sentences, I wasn’t sure if he knew the meaning behind the words he was saying, but there was some writing underneath it which I believed was Karen. Shortly into our visit, one of their neighbors showed up, he could speak both Karen and English, so he took the place of translator for us during this visit. He wound up trying to teach the little girl from our family the alphabet, it was cute and a nice attempt, but she was not interested. He wound up playing with the child and keeping her pre-occupied and kept humming the twinkle twinkle little star song that her toy was playing. The family had shown an amazing improvement over the first two visits and we knew that helping them along in English is the right path.
Our fourth visit we had to switch up our meeting time with the family because it was Fall Break and we both could not make our usual time. At the end of the third meeting we had our translator help us communicate the change in time. We showed up Tuesday around 6 and could not find our family. We were buzzed in by them, but did get a response at the door. We waited a few minutes and then saw the mom and her children coming around the corner, they now like to meet us at the front door when we come in. Anna and I also had learned at our last visit that it was tradition to take off your shoes at the door, so this time we walked in the door and made sure we took off our shoes. This time the father was not present.
We brought dry-erase boards with numbers and letters as well as shapes on it as a gift for the family, as well as number flash cards. The mother was having trouble learning the difference between 7′s and 9′s, which look alike now that I see them on this blog so I understand how the confusion comes in. In this visit, the children were becoming more comfortable around us. I was standing up and the younger child was playing peek-a-boo behind my legs, and then the children were just playing around and fighting each other over toys. The mother had set out watermelon for us on the table, and while we were practicing english, the younger child kept going for it and she had to pull him away, it was extremely cute and funny and I felt as though we were getting closer to the family with each visit. At the end of the visit, I was wrapped up in putting flash cards away, and the younger child bopped me on the head with his hand while I was distracted. I was shocked, but then I started laughing as I realized that he was more comfortable with myself. The mother felt embarrassed, I could tell from the way she reacted, and without proper communication it was hard to tell her that I was fine and it was funny. I tried to communicate with my facial expression of laughter, but it did little to help. We left a little bit later after rescheduling our next meeting as well, and we put it on a calendar that seemed to have ESL classes on it as well.
Anna and I left feeling so much better about these trips and I just feel like what I’m doing is really worth it. It’s a very rewarding experience so far, I feel like what I’m doing is average, but it helps them so much more than I think it does.