Donna Gibbs CSJ, writes and illustrates children’s books with ecological themes. A teacher for 30 years in the elementary classroom, Sister Donna has a degree in child development and a Master’s in Earth literacy and art therapy.
by Donna Gibbs, CSJ
“Where one of us are, all of us are.” With this in mind, “we” were in San Antonio, Texas the last two weeks of November helping 80 Afghanistan refugee families settle into their new lives. Here are four snapshots of our time there.
A 13-year-old girl and her 7-year-old sister along with both parents lived in a small village in Afghanistan. Neither child nor their mother had ever been to school. Both of them eagerly learned counting and the English alphabet during the two weeks we were there.
At the airport in Afghanistan, a 15-year-old girl was in one line with her aunt and grandparents while her parents and three younger brothers were in another line to board the plane. She and her grandparents made it onto the plane, but her parents and siblings did not. Presently, they are hiding trying to find a way out of the country. She spoke a bit of English and willingly translated whenever asked. Terrified for her family, she shared pictures and stories asking for a way to bring them to her.
A middle-aged man who was working for our troops lost both legs in the violence. His wife and several children of various ages would not leave the hotel room where they were staying, but they welcomed us as visitors. By the end of the second week, she, her baby and the youngest four came outside to participate in the art activities we provided.
A young man who fought alongside our troops in the Afghanistan army shared with us (through Google Translate) pictures and stories about his two young sons and beautiful wife still in Afghanistan, hiding and trying to find passage.
“Where one of us are, all of us are.”
In line with our commitment to defend the rights of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, our new blog series “Our Border Brothers and Sisters,” we present the stories that our sisters and associates who have had border experiences would like to share. We are grateful to them for their generosity. It is our hope that these stories will open us to seeing and understanding our brothers and sisters in greater depth because, as Colum McCann once said: “You can’t hate someone when you know their story.”