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Posts Tagged ‘Peace Catalyst International’

The Somali Bantu community is a smaller sect of people from Somalia that reside around the Juba and Shabelle rivers in the south. After to feeling to Somalia and Tanzania, many of these refugees were located to the United States. Tucson is one of the cities that many of these refugees are now starting over in. Phoenix also has a growing Somalian Bantu community and this year I started volunteering at the Somali Bantu United Association of Greater Phoenix as an ESL instructor. The Somali people and the Somali Bantu don’t get along too well. Many have carried their years of conflict here to the U.S. as they are a large honor culture. But with the efforts of Peace Catalyst International, there has been a huge answer to prayer recently. Both cultures have decided to put aside their differences and work together. We don’t know what this looks like, but God is definitely working. We held a meeting today at a Somalian coffee shop over tea and sambosas to discuss what the future lies for the community and us instructors. Praise God!

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Today was the last day of class at the Somali Bantu Refugee Center. I have enjoyed teaching here the past few months. It really is an amazing God story how He brought this place into my life for me to serve at. I have had the itching to teach for some time, but I never thought I would be teaching refugees how to speak english and be prepared for citizen classes. God is doing amazing things in this community and Peace Catalyst International is doing awesome stuff in promoting peace and unity amongst them. I am thankful for Josh Prather from Redemption church for directing me here and the director Sally for believing in me. Rachel, Emily and Kaylee have been awesome trainers and I look forward to helping run english camp this summer. Today we had our last day of class celebration and the ladies cooked us samosas (a fried or baked pastry filled with potatoes, onions, peas, lentils, and ground meat) and hot Kenyan tea. I was offered my own class to teach in the Fall and I look forward to further being a part of this community.

The women in their traditional hijab headscarfs

Samosas

Our awesome teachers!

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This documentary has helped me get to know a little bit of what our Somalian students have been through.

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Today I started my first day at the Somali Bantu Center of Phoenix. It is such a God story of how this place came to me. I had attended a peace festival at a Uzbekistan restaurant back in November and was blown away by the number of refugees living here in Phoenix. Just hearing their stories really moved me. I signed up to help volunteer and Josh Prather from Redemption church contacted me a couple of months later. He got me in contact with Sally Harr (the lady in the video above) and she offered me an a choice of an admin or a teaching position. I was really having an itching to teach and wasn’t the admin type, but I never taught english before. She encouraged me to come down and check out the place and I fell in love with it. Peace Catalyst International is a big part of helping bring unity to the people in this community. Tim Ballard gave me a rundown on them and he also happens to attend my church Missio Dei. Even though overseas missions is my heart, I had been praying for something local to do here in the valley that is cultural based. This place was perfect and I began to pray if God wanted me here. I knew God would provide me with the skills to teach english, so I accepted the offer to be a teaching assistant for the remainder of the spring. Wow.. isn’t God amazing in how he works!

bantu

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I attended a dinner at the Golden Valley Restaurant in Phoenix hosted by Redemption church. This restaurant is owned and ran by Uzbekistan refugees from the Andijan Massacre of 2005. They bring the full flavors and traditions of Uzbekistan’s national dishes from family kitchens back home. In addition to eating some great food, we got to hear the stories from a couple of refugees on how they got to America. Now some of them reside here in Phoenix and have built a strong community and have started businesses to help stimulate the economy.

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I got to eat with a refugee by the name of Abdurashid. He escaped Uzbekistan in 2006 and left behind a wife and son. Now he is here in Arizona working and trying to bring his family that he hasn’t seen in so long here. He spent the evening sharing stories and pictures with me about life in Uzbekistan and how he got here. He is blessed to have strong community to bond with while here. His story touched my life and definitely put in perspective my own personal struggles in life. We ate Pilov (rice with meat and vegetables), Manti (steamed dumplings with ground beef) and chicken kabobs.

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There is an amazing website dedicated to the story of these refugees called Uzbek Justice Initiative and how you can get involved. Read about how God is using them here locally. Below is a video about the Andijan Massacre from the film Through the Looking Glass.

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