Wednesday, March 04, 2009

the aliens

One of the major chapters in the life of Agent Wife and myself is our African friends. About four or five years ago Agent Wife somehow got hooked up with a large African family through her French speaking abilities.

This family is actually four separate households – all siblings: two brothers and their two sisters. The oldest brother is some 20 years older than the other three, so he’s like the patriarch or something. And some have spouses and children and so forth. So, they’re a large group.

They came to the fair mother city through a non profit program called the IRC: International Rescue Committee. It’s a group that assists in bringing immigrants from war torn countries seeking asylum. They pay for the plane fare to the US, find housing, speed up the immigration process, assist in finding jobs (always hourly pay labor since even the educated don’t know our culture, language, etc), and assist in government subsidies (food stamps, etc).

Then they have 4-6 months to be completely self sufficient when all the subsidies end. And oh yeah, they have to pay back that plane fare. Air fare don’t grow on trees, I guess.

So Agent Wife & I stumble upon a great DVD at the library that I highly recommend: The Lost Boys of Sudan. It’s not just some boring documentary (which I like those, btw). But it’s pretty entertaining. Like the Napoleon/Pedro-esque technique of a young man trying to impress a female by giving her caged birds he caught.

Lost Boys is filmed in a “reality show” style, minus both the nonsense and ego filled soliloquies. The characters share a very similar story and life to our local African friends here in the fair mother city, which helped open our eyes to their daily issues.

If anything, this film can effectively show Christ followers the difficulty of daily life for the aliens in our midst. I hope it raises your compassion for those far from home.


Amanda said...

I think it's so amazing you guys have been able to help them and become friends with them. I'll look for that DVD on ebay. I'm banned from the public library. Late fines, they stink.

Anyways, so after 4 - 6 months these people who have to adapt to an entirely new culture are expected to be self sufficient and totally off of any government help? But if you're born here in America you can stay on Food Stamps and do nothing at all for your entire life? That does not make any sense. Or how about the people that work, but still need the extra assistance and they get very little to none because they make too much when in reality they don't! Sorry, didn't mean to vent on your blog!

Agent B said...

Amanda - I was pretty pathetic and tired when I wrote this post (which is why I rarely write here anymore). So some...Ok, ALL of the info is unclear.

Our friends are not forced off things like food stamps, etc. But the IRC (or US gov, I forget which) pays their rent and some other things for like 6 months. Then they're on their own.

And I neglected to give a brief overview of the DVD - It follows two young men making the journey from Africa to the US. And follows their daily routines of culture learning mixed with daily survival.

It's very real and almost identical to the lives of our friends here in the fair mother city.