Friday, July 13, 2012

New Friends in Connecticut

This fall, the City of Bridgeport will relocate 50 young men from Eritrea, a nation that borders Sudan and sits north of Ethiopia on the red sea. Artificial borders drawn from Italy's imperial and colonial rules in the late 19th and 20th centuries are often ignored by those who have inhabited the land. When Word War II saw most European nations retreat, indigenous peoples disputed what territories belonged to which people. Many dictators were supported by the USSR and US created additional conflicts. 

Ethiopia is interested in the shoreline of Eritrea and relies on the water source to transport goods. When Eritrea went to its own currency, Ethiopia moved in with its military. Both nations have been accused of monstrous human rights violations. The recruitment of child soldiers has been a norm as has violence. Youth who were disrupted fled to varying refugee camps for safety and a few are being offered refuge in the U.S.

The International Institute of Connecticut contacted me to see if I would mentor one Eritrean man who has been in the U.S. for over a year. Because his English is good and he is enrolled in a community college, I will volunteer to work with him on his speaking and writing. When more men relocate this fall, he will be able to help them settle, broker language, and contend with the post traumatic stress they will most likely experience.

Teame, the man I met today, hopes to one day be a social worker and to be able to find a way to bring his sister and her two children to the U.S.

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