Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I did not expect today to be as crazy as it was, though I guess more accurate words would be heavy and hectic. Hectic because this afternoon I sat at the front desk because our secretary in on vacation, and it was our department's turn to cover the shift and I volunteered. I think it was a quiet afternoon, as afternoons in our office go, but for me, who usually gets all her time to focus on her job, I got interrupted all the time for phone calls or walk-ins. And most of the walk-ins' appointments were canceled, but they weren't notified, which was rather backwards. Usually it's the client not from our culture that doesn't show up for their appointment. Adding to is all, I had to do all this accounting crap, which added a bunch of stress to the package, because I don't understand "ledgers" and stuff very well.

That was hectic, and heavy was this phone call I got from a girl who has had some problems with the landlord. She called me originally because she wasn't sure about a bill she got from them about fixing some things in their apartment. Today she called with a few follow up questions, and she was really upset. She told me all this stuff about how the landlord charges people for things that they shouldn't. For example, her apartment has bed bugs, but they told her to buy her own pesticides at the store (which she did, though bed bug experts always say that you should never, ever do that). Then she asked to have the carpet removed and have laminate put in, which helps a lot with bed bugs. The landlord said that she would have to pay for that, which she did. That was not true, however, because the landlord should have covered the cost of that. She was really hopped up and frustrated, going on and on about how it wasn't fair that the landlord was taking advantage of her and her people (Burmese refugees). It was such an intense conversation. I talked to her about the fair housing center and gave her ideas on how she could start to record the neglect the landlord has shown. It was hard to get her to move past being very, very upset and onto action, though. It was like she was so used to being helpless and mistreated that she couldn't understand that I was making offers that would help fix the situation. I hope that I can help improve the situation in the long-term. But it will take a looooooot of work.

On a light-hearted note, I learned about this refugee's name. It's "Po Karen James Bond Zero Zero Nine". That is his legal name. This refugee will not be resettled by our organization, unfortunately, but we all got a good chuckle out of seeing this guy's names on an official document. 

Anyway, I'm looking forward to going to Michigan for the weekend. I hope to see lots of friends and family.

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