Welcome Refugees: Two Weekends with New Friends
Some said it couldn’t be done (!) but after two happy and meaningful weekends, the Refugee Team (of Nauset Interfaith Association) is relishing memories and looking forward to future sharing with new friends from Worcester. In both mid-July and mid-August, families of new Americans (who first came to the U.S. as refugees) traveled to visit, staying with gracious hosts in various towns and experiencing some of the summer pleasures of Cape Cod.
In July we welcomed one Syrian and one Algerian family (the latter having been immigrants rather than refugees). In August there were one Iraqi family, three families from Liberia and one single Liberian, and a Somali who had driven some of them in the van belonging to Ascentria Care Alliance, the agency with whom we have partnered. Beth Singley, staff person from Ascentria, attended both times. These families have been sponsored in the process of settling into life in the U.S. by various congregations in Worcester.
We were all together for Friday afternoon welcomes at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Harwich. On Sundays, we came back together for beautiful Celebration meals, at St. Peter’s in July and at the Community of Jesus (hosted by Community youth) in August. In between, our hosts and their “partners” from the RST accompanied our guests to beaches, museums, canoeing/kayaking, churches, and a trip to Highland Light. Despite the fact that the weather was only semi-cooperative, a good time was reported by all, enthusiastically. We benefited in August from some of the learnings of our July weekend.
Most important, relationships developed. Traditions were shared. Both Cape residents and new-comers have a deeper understanding of folks from other cultures, and our guests know that they have friends outside of Worcester! RST members have begun to talk about a return visit to that city.
If you have questions, or would like to participate in future projects of the Refugee Support Team, contact Rod MacDonald (email@example.com) or Ken Campbell (firstname.lastname@example.org).