I came home last night after two weeks of volunteering with Anabaptist Refugee Committee at an army base in Wisconsin. The base housed 13,000 Afghan refugees in August. Many have resettled, and approximately 6,000 are left and hoping to be resettled in their new homes by the end of February.
It was a wonderful two-week stint, spending time with these beautiful, brave people who have lived through more devastation than anyone should have to, and who are attempting to start a new life in a new country. I lost my heart to the children and teens, so lively, so bright, eager to learn, respectful. I wonder what schools they’ll land in, how much support they’ll get, and if they’ll come to love this new world.
If you or someone you know can spare two weeks between now and the end of February, and can comply with the newly-mandated vaccination needed to work with refugees, consider applying now with ARC!
I wrote this poem months ago when I first heard the term “people of the dash” but I feel it more deeply now. This post has no pictures because it’s illegal to share them publicly. But I saw people who looked like relatives of the sad, beautiful Afghani girl in famous National Geographic cover photo. Their effortless beauty and liveliness took my breath away.
People of the Dash
People-of-Care from Syria, Afghanistan, Myanmar.
People of the dash
Live between worlds,
A hyphen of time without home.
Stories of full lives behind
And hope for life ahead
Are the only sure things they own.
They exist on the cramped short line
Between empires with tapestries of legends and lore and
Today’s mercy (or none)
Of authorities who speak a new language:
Food line. Documents. Tent. Blanket. Permission. Quiet. Stop.
Their sleep cracks with violence and staggering loss.
O Jesus, Man between worlds
Who also had no pillow,
How long until the crescent wave of your justice
Washes this groaning globe
And ushers your beautiful, broken people of the dash
To their long home, carrying their spangled splendor?
How long, dear Jesus,
Once homeless God-Man,
How long can you wait?