Most people I interact with on a daily basis don’t know I was an international relations major back when I was studying and dinosaurs roamed the earth. I even studied at the United Nations for a semester with my biggest thrill being when I was mistaken for an employee one day. Be still my heart!
I surprise people more when I tell them I am an Africanist. My area of special interest was Sub-Saharan Africa, with an emphasis on West Africa. I don’t get to use my expertise much, but recently, I have been visiting refugees seeking asylum in the United States who are currently being detained at a facility here in Bakersfield.
I won’t go into my many complex thoughts on this issue, but I will say opening my heart to these women has been among the most moving experiences of my life. Their stories, their determination, their kindnesses are unmatched.
As I write this I am on a train headed toward Oregon for my Aunt’s memorial service. My first daughter from Cameroon is praying for my travel to be safe and stress-free. I texted her – we text often, as I do with my other daughters. My second daughter from Cameroon is currently in detention so I see her weekly, for an hour. We write letters back and forth. The hour a week goes far too quickly.
I am still actively involved with One Billion Rising/and VDay, working to end violence against women and girls.
Now, however, my heart has a unique outreach concerning violence against refugee women worldwide.
I didn’t expect my heart to be so enriched that day when I saw a training from a local refugee and immigration rights group and decided it might fill the void of other losses this year. On a whim, I went – and I have not been the same since.
This blog post was written from a prompt offered in the “Bridge to the New Year” experience which you may find at JuicyJournaling.com. Join a group of creatives reflecting, connecting, intending and taking passionate action as they step into 2019.
Julie Jordan Scott is the Creative Life Midwife. THANK YOU for reading!