July 6, 2012
Yesterday was a day to enjoy a day off from work, celebrating with friends and family and ending in awe as beautiful lights flashed throughout the sky at night. Fourth of July night is always a bit magical. This morning I awoke to a great article in the Seattle Times. 525 immigrants in Seattle received their citizenship yesterday. The article had some powerful quotes from the new citizens. I wish our newspaper could highlight immigrants every day of the year because there is so much we can learn from them and about ourselves. Maybe one day The WMB will make that happen. For now, I will share one here and I hope you click the link to read the entire article.
“Musu Jammeh, 27, from Gambia, pronounced it (the 4th of July) a great day. Life is just so good here, she said. Jammeh laughs when she sees Seattle drivers ‘complaining about traffic while they are in nice cars, with the AC on or people complaining about waiting so long for a cab. Back home, we don’t have electricity 24 hours. Only rich people have hot water. We don’t always have water when we turn the tap on,” she said. So, even her bad days in America are pretty good in comparison,’ she said.”
A highlight of my day yesterday was bicycling to Cal Anderson Park with my family to play some soccer before heading to our favorite ice cream shop. As soon as we arrived, my youngest son, Oscar, walked to a spot along the fence and said, “This is where we first talked about The World in My Backyard last year.” My heart was smiling that he too remembered that special day, because I remember it vividly sharing the idea with my family. And then we looked across the soccer field and saw a pick up game in the distance. My other son, Cooper, said, “I bet there are a lot of people from The World playing over there.” I agreed with him and they both said they wanted to get their ice cream and head over to watch the game to see if we would meet an immigrant from a far off country. We did just that. And I have to say, Cooper made it happen. We sat and watch the game. We were the only spectators, I am sure we appeared a little odd and out of place but we enjoyed watching the play and talking about the accents we were hearing and making a few guesses about their countries of origin. Opportunities were not opening to meet any of the players as the play continued on. Cooper kept encouraging me to call one of the men over. Not an easy request to pull a stranger off the field of play. It was time to go but Cooper insisted we wait. I decided to give in and wait a few more minutes. There was a break in the game for water and a nice young man came over to us and asked if Cooper was wanting to play seeing his turf shoes. We said, “No, we were actually wanting to talk with one of the players, that guy over there in the red shorts.” AKWARD…but I was going with the nothing ventured nothing gained philosophy. And then the door opened, we were introduced to Ibrahima. He has an incredible smile and openess about him. He shook Cooper’s hand, we talked for a few minutes and Ibrahima agreed to be The World in My Backyard’s Senegalese immigrant. On our ride home, Cooper and I, talked about how great it was meeting him, where Senegal was located(we learned that it completely surrounds The Gambia…ironically the country Musu is from in the article in today’s paper) and wonderful conversation ensued with my nine year old. And to see Cooper so excited to have met Ibrahima and looking forward to learning about his life journey. It made for a perfect day!