This week our second refugee, Bobasha, arrived at O’Hare airport on Tuesday afternoon, June 20, National Refugee Day! HIAS and JCFS made sure Bobasha was escorted to the baggage area where we arranged to meet him. There was a group of Lakeside members at the airport as well as a translator who has been working with Makandja. The translator brought Makandja to the airport to meet his dear friend. Everything went smoothly and we were all able to witness the joy and relief that these two young men experience when they were reunited.
Makandja and Bobasha grew up together as brothers in the refugee camp in Tanzania. Although they are not birth brothers, as Makandja tells it, they ate side by side at the same table, they slept side by side under the same roof, they played together, they went to school and they shared a history that none of us can imagine. Now, they are happy to be together again.
Bobasha will share the apartment with Makandja. He will have the benefit of learning what Makandja has already learned; how to take the bus, how to use food stamps, how to get around the neighborhood, how to find his way to World Relief for English classes and other resources. They will enjoy traveling together to visit friends from home who live in the Rogers Park area and together they will be able to branch out and explore the city.
In spite of the many challenges they face they will have each other to lean on and talk to. Makandja and Bobasha will surely be happier and safer together than apart. If you want to volunteer or get involved with our Social action committee please email me: Educator@lakesidecongregaiton.org. Join us tonight for Refugee Shabbat, Friday June 23 at 6:00 pm!