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.