Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Somali Bantu Refugee Teaching

(pic from the web)

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve recently begun a health education project with a group of Somali Bantu refugee ladies here in the states.  It has been so good.  It’s stretched me and been entertaining.  The Bantu people were subjected to slavery in Somalia for several generations before this group fled to a refugee camp in Kenya when the war came.  They have seen a lot of hardship. 

I am focusing on the women for a couple main reasons.  The first is that it is more culturally appropriate for me to talk with women (the Bantu are primarily Islamic) and the second is that the women need teaching and fellowship!   Their husbands have gotten out and learned different things at their jobs and their children are learning in school, but most of these ladies can barely speak English and do not know how to read and write even in their own language.  They know very little about health.

The first week I gathered together in an apartment room with the five Bantu ladies that were brave enough to show up.  I peppered them with questions about their lives, culture, and health knowledge.  I told them a couple stories from the Bible that demonstrate how Jesus feels towards those who are sick and the “least” among us.  They do not believe Jesus is God, but merely a prophet as it says in the Qu’ran, but were intrigued by the stories.   About halfway through the story about Jesus welcoming the children instead of turning them away, my translator stopped translating and excitedly interjected, “What happened next?!”   We also measured their height and weight to see where on the chart they rate for diabetes risk, because diabetes is huge problem they have encountered in the years after moving to America.

This (second) week our population tripled!  It was a fun sort of craziness as the new elderly women who came believe it’s quite alright for them to interrupt at anytime, and people from another Somalia province came so my English was translated first into Maay-Maay and then to Kizigua so everyone could hear the lesson in their own language.  We also made everyone bleed!  Ha ha.  This week was on diabetes, so everyone got to get their fingers poked and their blood sugar checked if they wanted (and everyone wanted ;). 

Y’all can pray for wisdom for me as I continue to develop lessons for the next four weeks of class and build relationships with these ladies. 

In other life news, it looks like I will be able to finish school in December, praise the Lord!  I continue to love the days when I work in the ER.  I’ve had so many entertaining patients recently, but HIPPA says I don’t get to tell you those stories. ;)

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints...For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you...  Philemon 3-7


JulieAnne said...

YAY!!! So thankful that women have been able to come! I'll keep lifting you and them up together. You are wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to hearing you here(on your blog) how those women would feel/react after you share them the stories of Mary Magdalene and the woman who anointed Jesus at Bethany (Matthew 26:6-13): Women are as equally important as men in the eyes of Jesus.

A Christian Malagasy reader.

Cara said...

Hevitra tsara, misaotra betsaka. :)

Jaime Carrillo said...

Hey Cara tell that HIPPA girl (or guy) not to be so selfish, hahaha, and let you share the stories. LOL

Anonymous said...

Tsy misy fisaorana.