A volunteer at LFS lent me a book called "The Middle of Everywhere" by Mary Pipher. Pipher is from Lincoln and has done a lot of work with refugees, though she is a psychologist of sorts. It's a pretty amazing book and I recommend it to everyone. She refers to many of the people she has worked with as "newcomers", and I think she uses that term to include people who have come here in a lot of different ways assylees, economic immigrants, etc). Some of the things she writes about aren't applicable to refugees, especially the part that talks about struggling to achieve legal status in the USA. Also, so far, I kind of feel like she is trying to make people feel sorry for refugees, which is difficult to stomach when you're reading a book. Who wants to feel guilty about that? And these people don't need our pity. They are often incredibly strong-willed and hard working, putting American born people to shame. But there's a lot of very accurate information and amazing stories in there, and I would recommend everyone read it.
Work is going to be a little tough over the next few months. Our program manager announced his resignation the day I started at LFS, and now, the woman who was sort of filling in is quitting. As I am fond of saying, it's like we are going to be on a raft in the middle of the ocean with no lifeline. We are not in the same building as our headquarters, and two other programs co-exist within our building, but we have no leader. It's putting a great deal of stress on us. *sigh* I keep saying that our strength is our awesome employees who are remarkably dedicated to the well-being of the refugees, even though they are over-worked. Hopefully not too much slips through the cracks, because bad service for us means people go hungry or don't get heat in their apartments or kids don't get in school or people don't get jobs or people get evicted. I feel like we're just going to have to hunker down and try to make it through these next few months as best we can, avoiding disaster as best we can.