Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Took the girls, Tika and Ganga to the County Health Department .......the three gals needed two more shots. Poor kiddos!

Went to DMV but the line was out the door, down the sidewalk so we agreed to go back another time to get Tika's AZ ID.

Ganga said it would be best if Tika applied for any jobs, even part time. The job at Goodwill is 25 hours per week. She said he should apply and take it if he gets the chance. I'm taking him with me tomorrow to move some furniture for the Iraqi family so I will discuss it with him then, after I talk to Emory to get the full picture of the info Goodwill gave them.

Also will ask him to do some work for me in exchange for the bike for Tara. In my humble opinion, I would hold off on giving him a computer.

FYI for future refugee ministry.....the main library has scores of ESL and ELL resources....dvd's, cd's, audio tapes, books on tape, even some language specific, i.e. arabic/english ELL. Alas, no Nepali/English ELL, but did find a couple Nepali/Enlgish dictionaries. The same one Paul and Ann gave them in fact!

They were quite impressed with the Burton Barr library. Anything from there can be borrowed to other branch libraries through interlibrary loan to save a trip downtown.

Ganga always states how much she appreciates our team and all the work we've done with the A. family. She case manages all the Nepali families (30 or so!) and is only paid part time though she may be full time soon. That is a huge case load. If anyone knows a mechanic, their family car has a broken power steering system and the estimate they received is $750, which they don't have. Anyone know someone who could help out???Carla

Monday, December 29, 2008

Carla wrote:

Funny moment: last week I had to stop Kamala from putting the eggs in the freezer....she ran out of room in the fridge, so that was the next logical place, I guess.

I think our team has done an incredible job of embracing this family and getting their feet on the ground and walking. The great number of hours that have been spent with them has helped them tremendously, and Lutheran Social Services likely wishes every refugee family could have this kind of support and intense introduction to America as we've given to this family. The ultimate task is NOT to get them employed and off the public welfare system...our ultimate task is to show them the love of Christ, to show them that there is a God who loves them and ultimately has their lives in His hands. Along the way, we get the privilege of helping them become independent of the welfare system. Any secular team can do the latter, but we get the incredible privilege of doing both. And I say "KUDOS!" to all of you for taking the time to make a difference in one family....just wait and see the incredible ripple effect that will have!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Helen wrote:

We ate Christmas dinner early. Elvern picked them up a little before 11:00 and Komula was preparing a huge batch of rice. Elvern thought maybe they had planned to eat rice prior to our dinner in case our Christmas foods were too strange. When they came in the house
Elvern and Tara lit the dozens of candles which she enjoyed imensely. Purna and Uma poured the water glasses and the goblets with sparkling cider. We teased about working for their dinner!

Tika and Komula took seconds of most of the foods. Everyone especially liked the creamy fruit which was yogurt and Cool Whip mixed with a variety of fresh fruits. I showed them the Cool Whip package so I think they will be buying some. The girls chose peppermint ice cream rather than apple pie. All were very observant at the table as to use of utensils etc. We noticed that the girls each drank 3-4 glasses of water which seemed unusual for teenagers. And Carol I was complimented in that Komula licked her plate! We had a lot of fun at the table. We are concerned that Komula needs one on one conversation or she does not get involved. We usually play games on Christmas afternoon but due to the fact that we wanted to see Larry, we brought them home at 3:00.

Elvern took Tika to Wireless Toys to discuss the "malfunction" of his new Cricket phone. After considerable experimentation and ice it was determined that Tika was shouting to the long distance family menbers creating a problem echo. All is well and Tika said I am happy now.

Tika and Komala are taking the bus all by themselves to the B family. They are excited to be doing this alone without assistance. They are to call Elvern if they have a problem.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mike D wrote:

Delivering the Christmas gifts to the Acharya family was great. The caroling was pretty poor and we lacked two of the girls when we got there, but things got better. We were almost out-hosted when Kamala served us Cokes, pinapple, and grapes. Tara was the most ecstatic opening gifts but everyone in the family loved it. Pretty funny when Kamala and Tika opened the wrong stockings! The girls were instantly in their new clothes. I talked a little about the tradition of opening gifts. Ganga offered to translate. Then, later Ganga translated the Christmas story from Luke 2. I accused her at one point of preaching instead of translating. She loved doing it and celebrated her success at the end. We spent a lot of time there so only part of the group went to the other family. Someone else will need to write about that since I was one that had to live for family obligations.

What a great Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Carla wrote:

Hi all,
I visited our family's friends, Bhula and her husband and two sons just briefly tonight. Gave her some learning games for her kids that my little friends have outgrown and told her Savers and Goodwill often have great used teaching tools. Bhula taught kindergarten in Nepal and loves to engage her kids in games and learning. I invited her and her family to church, but she said that First Christian Church's team takes them to church. Then she pulled out a Nepali-English New Testament!! Wow. There is a Nepali Bible Society that publishes Bibles, so perhaps we can find one online? I think what Bhula was saying also is that there is a missionary couple at First Christian that is going to Nepal for two years, or actually going BACK to Nepal to continue serving there in the mission field. Those missionaries are here for now and are the ones who gave her the New Testament. She said she would share it with the Achyara's since they read Nepali pretty well. So another option would be to contact this couple and get their help in getting our family a NT. What an amazing thing to find right down the "hallway"....the scripture in Nepali! Perhaps we could get this couple to meet with our team and give us some insights?

Also, Ganga said that for now the Achyara family did not get picked for the matching grant program so they will not have that extra money or their rent paid in full for three months. Soon their DES general assistance should arrive, with which they will pay their rent but have not much at all left over.

Also followed up with the Iraqi family that is in need of some furnishings. I took over the loveseat and a cabinet from Paul and Beth Dreshel. Emery, he may need some help re-building the cabinet if you would have time....all the parts and hardware are there, but no instructions. The Dreschel's have a couch also, but this family has a very small apartment and there are only three in the family so they are okay with just the love seat. They also have a nice sofa chair. I am sure I can find another family within a few days who is in need of the couch. My mother had a roll-away bed stuck back in a closet so I took that as well, since they live in a one bedroom and one of them has been sleeping on the floor in the living room. Took a sheet set and two comforters, and a pillow. I asked them what they would like or need and they were very reluctant to ask for anything, but finally got out of them that they would like an iron, ironing board, vacuum and a blender. So if anyone has any contacts for those items please let me know. I will keep their case manager apprised of everything that is donated.

This family also has an amazing story. They are from Baghdad originally. She worked for the government for many years doing data entry until she had her son 12 years ago. He ran a restaurant at Baghdad airport, called Ishtar's. Once our military arrived and took over the airport, he returned to his restaurant and kept it open by feeding our guys great food. He made a lot of friends among the US troops. He said it was extremely dangerous to keep his restaurant open, and every day he told his wife goodbye as he left for work, and would think that it could be goodbye forever because the threat of death was all around. She got misty eyed as he was talking about those days of saying goodbye like that. Some days the military would not let him go home as it was too dangerous, so he would spend several days at the airport. His son was not in school very much during these months since it was so dangerous, and later when he rode the bus to school he would hear machine gun fire and bombs going off. He and his family were also in extreme danger for helping the US military. He showed me his airport ID card, and said if the extremists had ever found that in his possession, they would have killed him on the spot. Three of his friends who ran the business with him were killed because of their associations with American military. Soon after he was able to escape with his family to Jordan where he lived with his brother. His brother may be able to immigrate here within the year. In Iraq, he had a nice house with a garden, two cars, computers, tv's, etc., but he said that he is happy to be here "starting from zero" so that his son and wife can be safe and his son can have a better life. In Jordan he was able to work in a multi-national business, so he seems to be very skilled.

Again, this family, like our family, was so gracious and insisted that I stay to eat even though they had already eaten dinner. And when I say insisted, I mean insisted....I think he actually would have been mad had I left, so I stayed but then I insisted they eat with me. So she served up beef kebab, something like a little egg roll, some flat bread, salad and really great tea. I wasn't the least bit hungry but tasted a bit of all but the was pretty good. I figured if I didn't touch the salad they could put it back into their supplies! He said he was given $75 upon arrival, but he didn't know how long it was supposed to last him. I didn't have the heart to tell him how long things take to get going because just like Tika, this man wants a job TODAY!!! I am going to put out a broader email to hopefully get him some "payback" from patriotic Americans who feel like I do, that he helped our troops, and now we should help him!! Maybe some veteran will give him a job!

This family lives on 28th Street and Indian School. There are four other Iraqi families in the complex, one of whom is Christian. He asked me again if we'll help anyone or only the Nepalis. I told them a bit about the conditions that the A. family came out of and they were quite impressed with what the Achyara's have been through. Isn't that amazing, considering what they've lived through??? But they realized and we talked about how far "ahead" of the Nepalis the Iraqi's are, since at least these folks had so much technology, work experience, literacy. The wife even drove, which surprised me, given all we heard on the news about the strict rules there in Saddam's day. Their last name is Hussein, but I get the idea that they are changing it, for obvious reasons! But that might change after Barack Hussein Obama is inaugurated....then it will have a better connotation, maybe. I saw a news piece not long ago that Iraqi school children in Phoenix are the target of bullying more than other ethnic groups, especially in areas with higher numbers of military families. So I would change my name too, if it were Hussein.

So what an adventure this all is.....fascinating how God is bringing the world to our very doorstep. Carla
I missed posting a few days so we will need to double up on some posts:

Carla wrote:

I followed up on contact I made earlier this week at the LSS office....with Mr. Rahmad who just last week moved to the US with his wife and son. I visited their apartment to get an idea of what they need....they live on 28th Street just south of Indian School. There are four other Iraqi families there. Mr. Rahmad is Muslim but one of their friends said he is Christian. I took them so basic necessities and a few games for his son. They have a nice dining table and two nice oak chairs, and a very large comfy chair and ottoman in the living room. I think they need a bed, but I am not sure. A roll away bed would be perfect as they live in a one bedroom so that way their son would be able to put his bed away out of the living room. I took them a folding camp chair so that at least they could all three sit at the table for meals. They were so gracious and so extremely appreciative. I intentionally took along the two boys I babysit, to broaden their world views. The 8 year old was a little scared of them when he realized they were from the war zone, thinking they were the enemy in Iraq, so it was good for him to get a better understanding of the situation and to see the friendly smiles and gracious attitudes towards us. . Kathy, just let me know what you have leads on.....I"d like to know how big the stuff is as their place is very small. The end tables and lamps would be a sure bet. I have time this weekend to make a trip and can fit a lot in my van. Anyone have plans with the Achyara family this weekend? I'd like to do something with them but don't want to interfere with anyone else's plans......Movie review: we saw "Bolt" today......very funny, good family movie!Carla

Mike wrote:

I spend Saturday with the Acharya family. Tika showed me the materials he had from the Sheraton Crescent. I decided to bring everyone to my house so Tika could complete the online application. The rest of the family watched "Polar Express" while Tika completed the application with some help from me and Uma. Uma is their family computer geek. Her English is also quite good. She acts as translator in spots. It was challenging to complete a very long application. We tried to make the work experience fit. Tika was part of a team of four that distributed food and other items to about 700 people. We made some attempt to describe distribution of bamboo, thatch roofs, and food in HR terms with strong skill terms like "supervise, organize, submit reports, etc." There was also a quiz of 54 questions asking about work ethic, honesty, punctuality, and response to specific scenarios.

Next I decided to give them more driving experience. We all piled into my truck and went to CCOJ. Tika's driving improved from last time. We decided to give Kamala a try. It was very funny. Since Purna was 17, she got a turn too. Purna was almost as good as Tika. When we were done, Kamala learned to say, "Today, I drove for the first time." I also prepped her for Sunday when I explained she would say, "Yesterday, I drove for the first time." She was able to tell this to Frankie on Sunday.

After driving, we went to a very busy Arrowhead Mall. Tika and I were walking in front of the rest of the family around the mall. He told me that one day he wants to take me to Nepal to show me around!

We then went back to my house. I invited them to stay for dinner. We played dominoes for a while. It seemed really good for Kamala. Uma, Perna, and Terra caught on very quickly. Tika was on the phone a lot all day. I understand why he might need unlimited minutes. We made them chicken enchiladas and a cottage cheese/jello salad. They ate a lot and had seconds on the salad.

The girls got on the computer together. They were checking email and sending instant messages to friends in Nepal even though it was very early in the morning. I asked how they got computer access in Nepal. They told me you could get 20 minutes for 30 rupees at an Internet Cafe.

By then it was almost 8:00 PM. We took three cars back to CCOJ to go through the lights. Then we crammed ten people into the bed of my pickup with lots of blankets. Tika, my daughter Naomi, and I were in the cab. At the end we all crowded into a photo with Santa. Kamala and the girls really like our young grandchildren! It was after 10 when I got them home. It was a great day!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Carla writes:

Had some extended time with Ganga (case manager) today. She explained that she has requested grant money to cover expenses for the A. family and will know within a week if they are accepted. If they are accepted, their rent will be paid for three months, in full, and they will receive cash monthly for other expenses. Tika and Kamala will EACH receive $200 and each child will receive $40 per month. If they are not accepted to the grant program, they will get DES cash assistance of which nearly all will go to the rent, and they will have very little left over for non-food items. Instead of cash gifts, cash would best be directed to buying non-food items in the future such as soap, paper goods, hygiene items, etc.

We attempted once again to enroll Tara in school but she is short one shot, believe it or not. So I'll work around Elvern's schedule tomorrow (Thurs) and get the girls and one of the parents back down to the county to finish the shots. The school office is closed after Thursday until the morning of Jan. 5 when school resumes.

Kamala got a good report from the dentist, but Tika will need some fillings. Have to wait on pre-approval before those appointments can be made. The girls actually missed their optometrist appointment due to a miscommunication between the doctor's office and Ganga, so that will have to be rescheduled.

I met a family from Iraq, who have been here just 6 days. They escaped Iraq and lived in Jordan for three years. He seemed to have been a very accomplished businessman in Jordan, so I could sense a great deal of shock over leaving all of that and coming to a basically empty apartment, with no job, etc. He said three of his friends were killed before he left Iraq and they had a lot of sadness in their lives at that time. If there were any chairs, a tv or other living room furniture available, this family could use any available. He said they each have a bed, they have two chairs and a table. There are three of them in the family.

Tara learned a very important lesson not, repeat DO NOT, open the door of the vehicle while we are going 35 mph. I guess she just wanted to see if it would open if she pulled the handle any other time besides when the vehicle is stopped. Guess I need to engage the child safety locks when Tara is in the car!!


From Helen:
Elvern is picking the family around 12:30 tomorrow. They will be going to the scheduled interview at the Sheraton. Elvern is intrigued with the HR director. She clearly stated that they do have not openings but still wants to interview them... Could it be that she has a plan? Does she just want the three for occasional banquet servers? After that the are going to the Marriott just a little further North to inquire/apply.

After that Elvern is taking Tika and Kumalo to the Phoenix Workforce Connection at 7th Street and Mountain View. Carla, this would be in our strange little neighborhood! We received some positive information about their services and negative information about their case load. We are going to be like secret shoppers of their services and my friend, the Phx One Stop Director, is anxious to help us through the system.
Pray and stay tuned for the report.
Helen and Elvern

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Carla writes about Monday night:

Last night the Achyara family attended our small group Bible study Christmas party. We had a nice meal together then played a game that was really fun and that they really got in to, especially the girls. Ultimately they didn't win the gift prize, but the winner of the prize graciously gave it to them anyway (a gift card to Starbucks).
Today took Tika, Kamala and Tara to the optometrist....all three need glasses which were ordered and will be available in three weeks. Tomorrow Uma and Purna will be examined.

Tomorrow Tika and Kamala go to the dentist; Tika has cold sensitive teeth. The girls will not go to the dentist until they are covered by AHCCCS which provides comprehensive covereage. If Tika and/or Kamala need any extensive dental work, we will need to know if the Refugee Medical Assistance Program will cover it as AHCCCS does not cover restorative work in adults, only extractions.

Also today Uma and Purna had evaluative testing at Cortez High School. I picked them up there afterwards due to the rain, and met their academic counselors and the school social worker. Cortez HS hosts 48 language groups! The girls will be in classes together; four ELL classes, PE, and math (with non-ELL kids). On Jan. 5th they go to school only to register, then begin in earnest on Jan. 6.

Tara was nearly derailed by being referred to Cholla Middle School, but long story short tomorrow she will be un-enrolled from Cholla and I will go with Ganga, Kamala, Tika and Tara back to Cactus Wren and meet with whomever we need to meet with to ensure she is enrolled in 6th grade there. She was in 6th grade in Nepal and is in NO way ready for middle school so that was a big and unnecessary detour to Cholla. Tika and Kamala learned today that they have the right to question decisions made by "authorities" (in this case likely just the secretary at the front desk at Cactus Wren), and they learned that their opinion carries a lot of weight in the educational process. They did not want Tara to go to Cholla, but did not know they could question the decision either. Tara did not want to go to Cholla either! I haven't mentioned the option of Tara having a that coming into reality or something we need to work on? Tara will need school uniforms, available at Target, Savers, Sears. Blue pants/shorts/skirts and white or blue or dark green shirts. Please let me know directly if anyone is interested in providing these so we can avoid duplicating. They have six backpacks and a year's worth of notebook paper, a calculator, plenty of pens/pencils, glue, folders, dictionaries.....they are set for now.

Tomorrow am picking Ganga up first then the family, then we'll go to Cactus Wren, then to their dental app'ts. Frankie emailed that she can take them later to the optometrist, which is at 6701 N. 19th Ave, just a bit south of Glendale on the east side of 19th Ave. It's a one story building, Frankie.....Tika will recognize it. I am hopeful the appointments will not overlap. Tika is careful to bring the RMAP cards but make sure he has them.

All but Purna had positive TB skin tests, which means they had contact with someone who had TB, which is very common in countries and living conditions like theirs in Nepal. They will all need to take medication for several months. They all had chest x-rays to clear them regarding actually having TB....they just had contact with someone else who had it.

I asked today if they wanted any help cleaning the bathrooms....Tika and Kamala said no. Tika said Kamala is "excellent" at cleaning.....a very nice compliment. Tika said that Sunday they will walk to church; he said they miss walking.

Take care, all.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Frankie writes about Saturday:

We picked up the Family Sat. morning . They had fun helping us with our tree. We made cookies and snicker doodles. They took home a container of them. Emery took them to Frys to shop for groceries, then took them home.

PS: We were irrigating that morning and it was time to turn it off so I took off my shoes and waded out in the water. I got to the valve to turn it off and looked back. Kamala had done the same as I did, but she was saying, "Cold!, Cold!" When I was finished I put my arms around her, and we walked out together. What fun! I forgot to say we had lunch also.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Saturday night Billy and I took the bus to the family's apartment, gathered them and four neighbors up, and took the bus back to our house. We had a blessing in that the fare box on the bus was broken, so we didn't have to pay! The little five year old neighbor, Robin, was so excited to go on the bus was his first time and his eyes were so big! They are all so used to walking it was not a big deal to walk from the bus stop to our house. Then we had taco soup, queso and chips (which they all loved), played Wii (which was very hard but they loved it), roasted marshmallows, tried s'mores (which were just too sweet) and best of all, played UNO. They LOVED Uno. Card games are a big part of their culture and they caught on very fast and have quite a flare for throwing cards on the table. Robin even caught on right away and was quite a good player. I gave them the Uno cards as they left, then later realized the cards weren't mine, but were a little boy's I babysit. oops. Looks like I'll be runninng to Target today. I'll send pictures out when I get a chance. They went nuts over my camera........since you can immediately see the picture you just was hilarous. Sunday night, Uma and Tara went with the junior high group on the Christmas lights tour and caroling. They seemed to enjoy it and actually did try very hard to sing along with the carols. Tika did not feel well Sunday, but by Sunday night looked and felt a lot better. Make a note for the next refugee family to make sure they have hot packs and Tylenol available after those immunizations.....and not much to do the next day in case they feel sick.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Carla writes about Friday:

What a long afternoon....picked up the family at 12:30, 5.5 hours and lots of immunizations later, dropped them off, with instructions for warm compresses for their sore arms from all the shots. All five had TB test started, and then the girls had to have 5 shots in their arms. Tika and Kamala had two shots. They squirmed a bit and yelped but no tears. All had chest x-rays and lots of blood drawn, so add another poke to the count! The pediatrician spoke Hindi, so they conducted the girls' screening in Hindi. The girls understand Hindi to a degree. The girls will have to have more shots in 2 and 6 months for the series, but for now they are good to go. On Monday a health worker will come by their house to check their TB tests and complete the paperwork. He knows that they are going to school to enroll on Monday so he'll work out the time around that.

The clinic is a cross section of the globe. All refugees have to have these screenings. We sat by a family from Thailand, and I taught our girls and their boys how to play tic-tac-toe. Then we had the world's first ever Nepal vs. Thailand International TTT competition, with Nepal the victor in the end! Someone at TBC had given me an Operation Christmas Child shoebox for a 7-10 year old boy, but had given me the box a week late with instructions to find a boy for it. So it absolutely met the need as the little Thai boys were having to wait so long and I was able to give them a gift wrapped box full of surprises. They were so happy!! It also had a gospel booklet in it, so who knows how that might plant a seed.

Our girls passed the time giggling and playing another paper game, and picking on Tara. She gets picked on a bit, mostly from Purna apparently. They had a scratch fight sometime in the last week. Being the youngest of three sisters in my family, I empathize with Tara.

I talked with Tika again about the phone card/cell phone issue. He is really desiring to call his parents in Nepal, which is so understandable. He has $50 so I told him if he wants to buy a phone card he can use my house phone tomorrow to call his parents. I don't have long distance on my house phone and feel that it's good for him to pay for the call. He agreed that he would like to do this. They need to gain a better understanding of contracts and unscrupulous cell phone sales people before they head down that path.

See you all Sunday........

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

From Carla:

Stopped by around noon to confirm a few task appointments. Found Uma and Tika just leaving to walk to Cholla library to look for Uma's lost library card. Uma was and is very upset that she lost her card. They had already backtracked by foot most of the way and couldn't find it, so I drove the three girls and a friend to the library and we cancelled her card so that no one else could use it. In order to get another card Tika has to take her with his passport ID and $2.

Late this afternoon we returned to pick Tika up so that Billy could teach him how to use lawn equipment. He mowed and mowed and mowed.....and mowed and mowed and mowed....and we don't have that big of a yard, but he didn't want to stop even after re-mowing the same grass. I had to actually grab the mower and stop him to explain that if we wanted to get the front yard done, he had to stop mowing the back yard! Then he mowed and mowed and mowed the front yard, which is just dormant bermuda grass. At least the back yard was lush winter grass, but this was just mowing the same dead grass over and was so funny. I guess he was practicing which was perfectly fine with me. He used the weed-eater/trimmer a little bit and was very thorough, and then used big pruning shears to trim back the rose bushes. I explained a few times how big hotels (like the Sheraton that Mike had taken him to) have groundskeepers, and that if he knows how to use these tools it might help him get a job. Billy and I tried to keep busy working alongside him without overtly keeping an eye on him, but I wanted to be careful that he was safely learning.

Once back at their apartment, Kamala was at language class and Tika said he didn't want to go since we had just got back and it had already started. He said he was frustrated about getting a cell phone. I was very confused because Mike had already added minutes to the go-phone. Tika said he has $50 cash and wants to buy a cell phone that can call Nepal. Mike had explained to him earlier that the contracts are very expensive and are not a good idea, but apparently Tika needs some more explanation along those lines. Tika was not happy with the go-phone because it can't be used to call Nepal, so I clearly explained that calling NEpal is a luxury that he can't afford now and likely won't be able to afford later. I explained the difference between necessities and luxuries, used examples and reminded him that he will have to pay rent very soon and will have bills to pay. I emphasized that the go-phone is for calling Ganga, for job hunting and applying, and for calling his TBC team members....necessities only. The girls and I reminded him that Helen had taken them to the PO and that it is much cheaper to write letters, or he can email. I also reminded him that he will need money for the bus to get to work and back and that is going to be a lot of money over time. He looked very dejected after this conversation, but it could be he was just tired since he'd been on the go all day and hadn't even had dinner yet. Between Tara's money, Purna's American Express gift card and his cash, they have $90. I know the girls don't want to part with their money, but eventually they will all have to pitch in in order to make ends meet.

Ganga said the girls will start attending school this Monday. I'm pretty sure it won't be a full week of school and the high schoolers will be on a different schedule for final exams so it will be an awkward time to start but at least they'll have somewhere to go!

Kamala attended a training class for child care providers and found it to be more frustrating and confusing than helpful. Her friend Bhula interpreted for her and also wants to work in child care and also found it very frustrating and confusing. They are going to talk with the job support staff at LSS to know what to do next.

Th-th-th-th-thats' all for now!

From Mike Darus:

Elvern asked me to check on Tika's phone. I went over today and put $25.00 on it. I also let Tika use my phone to call his friend in Florida -- eight minutes I never would have used on my own. Tika showed me his certificates. He also showed me his notes from his class in Nepal about the Hospitality Industry. His notes described everything from the different types of hotels, the names for sizes of beds, the organizational structure of the staff of a resort hotel... I was impressed by how hard the teachers tried to get him prepared for employment in the U.S. So we (Tika, Kamala, and Tera) took a field trip.

Our first stop was the Sheraton Crescent. We walked confidently through the conference center and into the lobby. I was hoping we could see a variety of employees in different work situations. However, we mostly saw subcontractors taking care of the landscape or doing construction. The concierge explained that human resources was at the rear of the hotel at the loading dock. I asked to talk to human resources. To my surprise, we were invited in without an appointment. She was busy but encouraging. I explained that Tika was a refugee. She asked if he had hotel experience. I offered the course. She suggested we call back to set an appointment late next week. Very exciting? A larger resort hotel like the Sheraton could have a good variety of entry level positions. It was clear that Tika's opportunities will parallel his language skills. We toured past some of the business traveler hotels.

We discovered that Marriott does all its hiring on line. So I decided to take Tika, Kamala, and Tera to my house to do some web browsing. We printed out some job descriptions for Marriott and the Sheraton. Then I had an idea. I knew how to get Tika safely behind the wheel to practice his driving.

The four of us piled back into my truck to go to the Community Church of Joy. There, Tika was able to drive our electric golf cart. As I guessed, he had never done anything like that. Every aspect was a new skill. I insisted that he use only his right foot for accelerator and brake. Just like any beginner he sometimes forgot to brake. One of the harder skills was learning to drive straight without over correcting each way. It was also important to learn to push the accelerator softly to go slow. Poor Tera was yelling "Stop!" and "Slower!" and "Turn!" No one fell out. We hit nothing. Tika is best at turning left so NASCAR may be in his future. It was a great day. I got them back home by 4:30 for Carla and Billie's lawn care lesson.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

From: Kathleen Petty

Team: I picked up Kamala and Bula (spelling?) at 7:45am to take them to LSS for a child care training class. There were a dozen or more children waiting for a school bus. I wonder if Tara can take a bus?? It was so cute, about 7:48 Tika came down to see if the "girls" got picked up. He looked like a regular American with a coffee mug in hand, sweat pants and slippers. Kamala looked so nice in a black pant suit, very American, I told her.
The girls talked in Nepali but Bula speaks very good English. She taught kinder garden. She saw south mountain and said she missed the mountains of Nepal so much.
The traffic, rush hour, was terrible and I think they were nervous we were going to be late. I assured them we had plenty of time. We got to the office and around 8:40 am the waiting room was packed. There were probably 8-10 people in the class. I waited until they went back with the instructor and then I left.
After LSS I stopped by Trinity and spoke with Mark G about the Christmas gift program for the refugees. He will discuss at the staff meeting today and let me know if it is approved or not. Most likely it would not be called an angel tree, maybe an ornament tree. We would have to carry the tree over to the education center between services so will probably use a small tree that Trinity has. We also discussed the possibility of Trinity co-sponsoring another refugee family after the 1st of the year. He will bring this up in staff today as well.
On my way home I made a turn at Target and purchased the rice cooker. It was $29.99 and will cook anywhere from 4 to 16 cups of rice. I don't think they will have a problem with this one being too small.
I'll let you know more information as soon as Mark G. calls me.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Monday December 8, 2008. Dateline north Phoenix residence of the Bootsma's.

I picked up Tika at 1:00 PM. We went to visit some C-stores that I had been told were employment possibilities. None of them worked out and I got the impression that they would not be good places to be employed. It would be OK if you were an owner. The "girls" all have something going for Tuesday and Tika is free, so I am taking him to The Cresent Hotel in the afternoon to make an application just for practice. I read the note about LSS job placement services and the need to keep on their radar screen, so I will tell him that tomorrow.

Tika wanted to purchase a cell phone, so we stopped at Wireless Toyz and checked out various plans. Cricket is the best plan for him as he doesn't have a credit record. However, he had some incomplete information from other people and when he found out the amount of money he had to put up front he was not as interested. He thought it would just be the monthly charge and had not counted on the fact that he would have to purchase a phone.

I know they had some kind of a phone when they first arrived, could minutes be added to that?


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Picked up Tika and girls for trip to Cholla branch library. Kamala wanted to stay at home. Before we left the apartment Tika told me the vacuum was not working again. I got it out, and it started right up. Uma said I am magic! The look on Tika's and Kamala's face was so funny. We used it a while to see if the problem would show itself, but it worked like a charm. I then showed them the upholstery brush and showed them how to use the hose. Much to my surprise, but no surprise to whomever hauled that couch in, it's a sleeper sofa! Wow. That thing is huge. So I surprised them with pullling a big bed out of their couch!! It was like magic again!! They thought it was very funny!

Tika has an ID card issued by LSS (I think) but with "State of Arizona" on it. I thought this would be sufficient ID since "government issued ID" is one of the acceptable forms of ID for a library card. Apparently the library system is on "level orange alert" from Homeland Security because it took a bit for the librarian to be convinced this ID was okay. He said it's easy to fake ID's in order to get library cards. I had no idea library cards were in such high demand. Anyway, they were all issued library cards, and we did a brief tour of the library and figured out how to reserve time on the computers on the second floor. Since I'd never done this, it was a learning experience for all of us. Tika signed on to his yahoo mail account and emailed two of his friends with help from the girls. He apparently had never emailed anyone so I don't have any idea when/how he got his email address. I don't know how the girls knew how to use it as they said they didn't have computers at school in Nepal. Tika, Uma and Purna all had a beginner's understanding of the keyboard and typing, so that's positive! Uma and Purna already knew how to check out books, but I insisted that Tara and Tika also learn (the older girls were ready to go, in that funny teenage way). So they scanned the books out and off we went. (I also made absolutely sure they understood that they will be fined if the books are overdue). We met up with my son, Billy, at Chik-fil-A in Metrocenter and introduced them to Hindu-friendly fast food. Then we walked the mall and talked a bit about cost, sales, etc. Then the highlight was meeting the mall Santa Claus, and trying to explain a 1700 year old story in light of a kind of strange mall Santa Claus.

We then drove to Piestewa Peak and to some funky hill top apartments off of Northern and 12th street. The most amazing 360 degree view ....they really enjoyed it. We could see that Chase "the ball" Field had the roof open, they spotted the Sheraton Hotel at Dunlap and I-17, and saw planes coming and going. We could even see the Phx First Assembly off of Cave Creek. This is the weirdest piece of property in central Phoenix but I like the view.

Throughout the day we had a lot of conversation and vocabulary practice. I also learned that they had waited 8 months for their visas and had ONE DAY notice to pack and leave. Tika said the girls cried all night when they received notice. They had so much to do in one day...he said it was very difficult. They gave away most of their belongings, had to get the girls' school certificates and many, many other tasks. I asked if this was customary to get only a day notice and they said yes. I asked how they chose Phoenix and Uma said they did not choose. Tika said no one gets to choose where they go. Amazing.

A few details: they have not as yet received their cash assistance which will help with nonfood purchases, but I don't know if they have to pay rent out of that. They receive $950-ish/month on their food card. They are excited to buy goat meat. Does anyone know if Lee Lee's accepts food debit cards?

Oh yes, another bit of progress........when I arrived they were NOT watching the Nepali dvds but were watching a dvd on mountain gorillas, in ENGLISH!

Any questions or concerns just give me a call....

Monday, December 01, 2008

Frankie and Emery picked the family up sun. at 3 and took them to our house for dinner and after dinner we took them to Glendale to see the lights ,they seemed to enjoy it ,after the lights we brought them back for dessert ,took them home around 8 pm we picked them up on sun. morning and brought them to church .they even stayed for Sunday school.

Tika and Kamala are upset with the quality of the produce, as Elvern mentioned, and were disappointed with the shelf life. Kamala showed me brown grapes and droopy green ?? I don't even know what it was! Whomever takes them shopping next should talk to them about taking small amounts, or only what they'll eat in a day or two of fresh produce. They can cut back on the size of the prepackaged grapes just by taking some out of the bag. I think their fridge is very humid right now because the apartment is, so the herbs and grapes were spoiling quickly. Tika and Kamala thought it wasn't cold enough but I checked everything and all the contents are cold. They could be introduced to Sprouts, as Carol suggested, to get better produce. There is one on Northern and 19th Ave. I explained that "fresh produce" isn't really all that fresh since it travels a long way to Fry's. Tika seemed to understand.

Has anyone ever used those "green bags" that supposedly keep produce longer? They'd be worth the money if they work.

Please add to the potential tasks that I will take them to the library for library cards now that they have proof of residency. The older girls and their friends routinely walk to the Cholla branch for books and DVDs. Can you imagine an American kid walking from 35th/Dunlap to the Cholla branch on the other side of Metrocenter?

Tika has significant leadership skills, and could be a great asset to reaching the larger Nepali community for Christ. We can pray for the Truth to become real to him and to his family and then to the many friends and neighbors they have!


From: carla truman [] Sent: Monday, December 01, 2008 10:00 PMTo:;;; Mark Giebink;;;;; Mike Darus; mikerab@cox.netSubject: MONDAY

Picked up Tika and girls for trip to Cholla branch library. Kamala wanted to stay at home. Before we left the apartment Tika told me the vacuum was not working again. I got it out, and it started right up. Uma said I am magic! The look on Tika's and Kamala's face was so funny. We used it a while to see if the problem would show itself, but it worked like a charm. I then showed them the upholstery brush and showed them how to use the hose. Much to my surprise, but no surprise to whomever hauled that couch in, it's a sleeper sofa! Wow. That thing is huge. So I surprised them with pullling a big bed out of their couch!! It was like magic again!! They thought it was very funny!