Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Big Day for Ah Gate's Family
On Tuesday afternoon, July 8, Ah Gate, Ah Mee and their three children arrived at Sky Harbor Airport after two days of journeying from the refugee camp in Thailand. They were greeted at the airport by the case worker from Lutheran Social Ministries, and by Jill Coughlin and Joe & Michelle Halonen from Grace.
After loading their 5 bags of belongings into our vehicles, we drove them to their new home. What a wondrous thing to behold as we watched them walk through the door of their apartment and look around to see all that had been prepared for them. Ah Mee was so overcome with emotion that her eyes continually filled with tears. Ah Gate, who suffered a stroke about 5 years ago, was obviously exhausted from his journey. When Po Lone helped him from his wheelchair onto the very cushy couch, Po Lone was so comfortable that he quickly fell asleep, even though he was sitting up.
Mya Min and Ya Min were giggly as they explored their new home, and were especially delighted with the bunk beds they would be sleeping in. Even though we couldn't understand the language, we knew they were each putting dibs on the top bunk.
Po Lone, who recently turned 18, has obviously taken on the role as leader for his family. He listened intently to all the instructions that were given about how to turn on and off the lights, how to regulate the air conditioner, how to use the vacuum cleaner and microwave and rice cooker and stove, and how to use the telephone.
It was fun watching Jill as she spoke a few words of Burmese with the family, and Ah Mee was deeply touched by Jill's desire to communicate.
Jacinda and Tayler Sartorius brought a roasted chicken, and together with Jill, they provided refreshments and dinner for the family's first dinner in America.
In these pictures, you can see Jill trying to communicate with the family using her Burmese word book, and you can see Jacinda showing Ya Min how to turn the living room lamp on and off. What a fun first day in America!
Posted by Michelle Halonen at 9:35 PM