Last night, I didn't get home from work until 10:00. I had to do a home visit in a less-than-great part of town. I was supposed to meet with two Burmese women to go over some service documents. There was a volunteer there to meet me, ready to observe and receive some field training.
Two women. That became three, then five, then more. At one point, there were about 15 people and a pack of small children crammed into the tiny apartment, including one Oromo woman from Ethiopia. I couldn't hear myself speak over the noise and chaos.
When we finally spilled out of the apartment and into the summer night, I was reminded of the rich experiences these women have and are willing to share with me--even when it brings them to tears. Last night, everyone finished with a smile and in a boisterous mood.
Here is a picture of the women I met, along with the volunteer who will help with their case.
Mu Paw and her son. She is ethnic Karen and lived in Mae La for 15 years. Mumina and her two kids (and one on the way) are ethnic Oromo from Ethiopia. She lived in Dadaab camp, perhaps one the worst places on earth. Mary. Htoo Ma Paw is ethnic Karen and lived in Umpium camp for 16 years. It's her birthday today. Sa De Ha Baw is part of a group called "Black Karen." They are neither Black nor Karen. She is ethnic Indian, Muslim, and pregnant, due in November. She speaks Burmese, not Karen.
Exhausting visit, fabulous women. They energized me.