I arrive, open my trunk and start filling grocery bags with the fresh local food. Soon word spreads. I happily give the bags to refugees I know well and new arrivals. The new people stand out because they do not know about Iskashitaa Refugee Network yet. They wonder if they are going to get food. They look on with expectation.
Once the "old timers" have left, I make sure that I have bagged enough produce for the new families. I invite them to come and see the food. The food is welcomed or perhaps it's the friendship that matters. I ask their names and offer mine.
In recent months, there was always a young woman sitting on a curb alone and knitting. She never approached my car. I would turn in her direction and show her the food but she always smiled and shook her head. We bid farewell with a good-bye wave.
This week, our interactions changed. With one food bag left, I walked over to the young woman to look at her knitting. I sat down next to her and touched her work. It was done to perfection and I told her so. Finally I realized she was unable to hear me. She stood up and brought me to her apartment. She pointed to the AC/ heating unit. With both of us standing on kitchen chairs, I showed her how to use it and had her turn the knob to the off position herself. Apparently, she had not been able to communicate her dilemma to a friendly face and she slept in the cold for weeks.
We parted that day with many hugs. I marked the day I would come back on a calendar and she made sure I knew her apartment number. Two people...two totally different life experiences...two different continents...two people communicating, playing & laughing...the way friends do....two people....no longer staring & waving good-bye to each other...two new friends.
By Sue Troutman
Do you or your family want to help redistribute food to families in need? Do you have a reliable vehicle and a time each month that you could come? You are perfect for us! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.