I covered a story about refugees for The Florida Times-Union. I met this toddler from Kenya and it was pretty much love at first sight. He liked me too—I helped him with his lemonade. He did fine with the hot dog on his own. When I drove home, I put my hand to my hair and it smelled like lemons because he gave me a hug as I was leaving. I was very glad to have the assignment.
You have to hear stories from people who have suffered and endured hardships we can only imagine. Each person I talked to that day, from Somalia, Kenya, Afghanistan and other countries, was overjoyed at coming to our country. It took some of them years to complete the paperwork and requirements. I thought of my own ancestors who crossed an ocean in a rickety boat, landing in Charleston, South Carolina. It was hard for them to come to America too. They had to seek permission and that could take some time.
Refugees like the people I interviewed don’t come here for financial reasons. They come here because their lives are in danger, because they have no freedom as a result of their religion, skin color or for other reasons. The best thing about my country—I’ve written this many times—is that all these different cultures and faiths come together and we make something greater than ourselves out of all those disparate parts.
Welcome to my United States. I hope you’ll visit The US Report and I hope when you do, you’ll express your own thoughts in the comments section. And I hope you’ll come to understand that what you see in the media is often not the way things really are here. I suspect the same is true of many other countries as well. (Filed by Kay B. Day)