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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Friends in Need

I have the privilege of working with a Somali family that was referred to the refugee organization I volunteer for. Their situation has helped me realize how truly blessed I am in this life.

The family is a husband and wife and their 6 children who came to the U.S. after spending 12 years in a Kenyan refugee camp. The wife was diagnosed with kidney failure shortly after coming here. She was advised to not become pregnant, but ended up not only pregnant, but is having triplets.

She and her husband have very minimal English skills, and now that she has become sick, neither one of them can attend ESL classes. The wife, Leila, is 5 months along in her pregnancy. Many of her days are spent in the hospital, where she receives dialysis.

Now that she is ill, her husband must stay home and take care of the children. The oldest daughter is 13, the youngest child is 16 mos. They are no longer receiving refugee resettlement assistance, and live on welfare payments and food stamps. Their welfare barely covers the rent, and their electricity is being paid by another charity organization. They have hardly any furniture, few kitchen utensils, and no money left over to even begin purchasing these things. It would be easier if they had family in the city, but they seem disconnected from the Somali community at large.

My heart just breaks for them and the severity of their situation. Yet somehow, they are still hopeful.
I sorted through Layla's books and brought a few of them over for the children. There weren't any toys or books in the room, and each one was looking at a book when I came back downstairs :-)
I also brought some food, kitchen items, and cleaning supplies to get them started. 

The organization I volunteer for is working to get some of the material needs met for the family, but what they truly need is the help of friends and neighbors who care about them. Now that I have met them, I am going to try and cook food for them at least a couple times a week and help care for the children once I have developed that level of trust with them.

What this family needs is a real miracle. If Leila's kidneys could be restored back to full function, she could be the mother that her children need. I am praying earnestly for that miracle.

39 comments:

Nurul said...

Sister, Allah will repay you for this good deeds. Amin... Hope that the family's condition will improve. Aminn....

Ahavah-Shim'on said...

what can I do to help in a practical way?

Aalia said...

Mashaa'Allah alaiki <3 Habibiti good for u for doing what u can to help this family. May Allah give them sabr and a means, and mashaa'Allah @ the sister getting pregnant with triplets!! Wow!!

Allah does not give us more than we can handle..

Ciyaalka Xaafadda said...

I commend you for your support of this family in need. It's a truly remarkable story. I have high hopes that they'll do well eventually as the US is the land of opportunity.

Hopefully they won't spend valuable time praying to false beings like "Allah" and instead build a better future. :-)

Waxaan u rajeynayaa inay shaqo helaan oo ka gudbaan hadinta ay hadda ku jiraan.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

@Ahavah, I will see when I talk to my friends at the organization. I could maybe start an account for donations for them. I think the biggest thing is to give the poor dad a break. I'm trying to convince my own husband to meet him, but he doesn't really want to since he doesn't speak much English.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

@Ciyaal,
The biggest thing is that the husband finds some help with the kids so that he can work. The youngest kids are only 18mo. and 3 years, plus the triplets on the way. It would be easier if they had family here, but they don't. I want to see them succeed in the U.S., but the 1st few years are always the hardest.

Ciyaalka Xaafadda said...

True, the first few years are always difficult but people generally adapt. I would think that the environment they came from to be harder.

I wish I could help them. I've helped a family in similar situation a while ago. I'm surprised that there are no Somali people around. I was under the impression that they're scattered all over and that there'd at least be a family in the next town or something.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

Actually, maybe you could help me figure it out. There are a lot of Somalis here, but they are disconnected from the community for some reason. It could be because of their tribe, but I haven't asked them yet.

Susanne said...

I wish I lived closer so I could help in a practical way. I can't watch the children from here. :/ Thanks for informing us of this. Can I send some toys or books for the children? A giftcard so you could purchase some things for them?

Btw, thanks for the comment you left on my blog. Honestly I think for sure that you have the compassion of Christ. I've often thought that because of how you reach out to the downtrodden in practical ways. And how much you love the Somalis. You are an inspiration to me and I really appreciate the good example of Christ that you are.

Ciyaalka Xaafadda said...

Which State of city are they in? Typically, tribalism doesn't matter in these matters. So perhaps getting into contact with any Somali person in the area might help.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with Ciyaalka Xaafadda. If they didn't waste their time praying to non-existent creatures they wouldn't be refugees in the first place since the whole thing is being fought over religion (as usual). And if they were logical enough to know mythical creatures don't exist they would have been logical enough to listen to the doctor and NOT get pregnant.
No wonder atheists/agnostics have a higher economic level than religious folk (on average). They don't waste their time chanting into thin air, not eating and cooking 5 course meals for holidays and go studying and making a living instead. First step to world peace: GET RID OF RELIGION!

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

They live in Portland, OR. I am going to talk to another friend's husband and see what contacts he has in the community. One problem is that they live close to me, but the majority of the Somalis live on the opposite side of the city.

Mama Kalila said...

Wow... That is so sad. I'll be praying for that miracle too. Wish we could do more though.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

@Mama Kalila, Maybe we can do some sort of a drive for books and toys for the kids. You should have seen how crazy they went for the few of Layla's books that I took over there. I want to see these kids have a chance to make it in school instead of falling through the cracks.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

@Susanne, thank you for that kind comment. It is overwhelming to think of all the problems in the world and try to fix all of them. What I've realized is that you kind of have to pick your battles and focus where you can make the most difference. Helping one family could theoretically trickle down to help the whole community and beyond.
In the Gospels, Jesus picked 12 disciples and they went around impacting lives mostly one by one, yet the impact is still felt today.

Umm Ibrahim said...

wow, mashallah sister, youre truely a gem! May you be rewarded in this life and the hereafter! en'shallah

I dont know much about somalis but when I interned at a preschool a few years back some of the preschoolers were recently resettled refugees from Somalia and I was always surprised at the intensity of their poverty and their number of children but how they still kept a 'stiff upper lip" and just kept going.

I say, start a donation for them! Atleast so they can get the basics together and get a little nest egg to put some pressure off the husband and maybe you can set up a rotating babysitting schedule with other muslim women in your community so that will free both parents up to take care of what needs to be taken care of.

They and you & ur family are in my doa'at!

angie nader said...

stacy,
i think its awesome if you did a little drive...even for clothes.
i'd definatly send what i can...or like one of the other girls said..i could even send a giftcard, and you can do what you need with it...please let me know.

Anonymous said...

They should turn to their tol, do some qaran aruuris, the only benefit of qabiil is that it can serve as a proto-welfare state. No-one is abandoned, though I wonder why they haven't thought of this.

Safiyyah said...

Salaams:

I also ask Allah swt to reward you for your work dear.

When I hear stories like this one, and see the situation in Haiti on TV, I conclude that I have absolutely NO problems. Alhamdulillah. I remember watching TV during the Pakistan earthquake and seeing the children in the snow with no shoes. Subhan'Allah.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

@Safiyyah, You're right about these thing making our problem look minor in comparison. I would gladly give up 1/2 of what we have to give those kids a chance to succeed in their lives.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

@Angie, I'll let you know once we get a better idea of exactly what they need. I think that book and educational toys for the kids is a huge one since they're at home so much.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

@Anon, You're right about qabiil sometimes being a benefit. I have seen some friends' tribe raise $10,000 in a day for a family member who needed it. I wish these guys were related to them.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

@Anon, So what if my belief in God teaches me to love my neighbor as myself? I think that's a good base value to enact change in the world.

Anonymous said...

What is their qabiil anyway? They sound laangaab or even midgaan :(

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

@Anon, if they are Midgaan it would actually be a blessing in disguise as I have a lot of kuul carre friends in CA.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

I just don't know if I should be direct and ask something like that. Miyaan u weydiin karaa qabiilkooda?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the stigma of asking people what their qabiil with disappeared sometime around 1991. You have to ask before you risk becoming friends with someone only to discover later on that they're Habar Gidir or something. I digress.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

Good to know. I find the topic of qabiil intensely fascinating actually. Maybe that's because I'm slightly distanced from all the damage that it has caused to your people.
I love all of you the same regardless though.

Count said...

Great job supporting parasites.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

@Count, Maybe you'd have some empathy if you'd spent 12 yrs in a refugee camp and were then diagnosed with a life threatening illness.

Alberto said...

Stacy,

I don't have sympathy with "people" that live in abject poverty and have they chutzpah to reproduce like rats and drain our welfare state. They should be immediately deported with a ceremenious kick in their butt.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

@Alberto, All of the children were born in a refugee camp where there was no access to birth control or education about natural methods reducing fertility. Compassion and education need to walk hand in hand.

Naag Waalan said...

Stacey you need to filter your comments, morons like these don't deserve the attention. Buufis aa hayo ninkaan, maskaxduu ka jiranyahay.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

@Naag Waalan, Ninka waa is ceebayaa. Waxba ma yaqaano. Meesha qaxootiga haduu arki lahaa, wuu garan lahaa dhibatooyiinka dadkaaga.

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cigaal said...

hi stacy, i stumbled upon your blog thru a comment on the 'land of the gods'. i had read the article a few years ago, and im not sure if the atheist plagiarized it, but people and religion goes back to the first man. i hope the atheist accepts that simple fact and keep on living with fellow men without hostilities to creed or origin.

back to the serious issue, i don't live in the states but i could contribute cash thru dahabshiil or other ways.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

@Cigaal, Thanks for the comment. "The Athiest" is actually a really kind and honest person. While we may not have all the same personal beliefs, we have a lot of interests in common and speak 2 of the same languages. You'd probably like him if you got to know him.

Anyway, thanks for the offer to help this family. I think we've gotten a lot of the things that they need. The biggest need now is help with childcare once the 3 babies are born. They will live haddii Eebbe idmo.

Ciyaalka Xaafadda said...

Stacy; I appreciate your support.

Cigaal; If you look further, the writer's name is clearly indicated in the article. Unless I write something in the blog, the original writer's name typically appears in each item.

I wish the very best for the family in need.

Aynur said...

If I lived closer than 3 hours away I would definitely pitch in for watching the kids. If you can post what they need exactly, like for kid's clothes - what sizes and gender/season, specific household items, toys, or other things that can be mailed to them to cheer them up a bit. I agree with other posters, if you can set up a donation fund of some sort then it'll enable those of us that are not close by to help out in some way. :)