Guest from Afar

So this is home, this week, for a teenage boy who is staying with us.

A while ago I was talking to my French teacher, who also taught English to refugees. She had a lot to say about it, but her principal piece of advice was to always go through an organization.

Well. Some organizations are right out there in public. Others are more careful about their public presence. Eventually I found my way to one that finds homes, however temporary, for unaccompanied minor refugees. They also organize educational and legal services.

Our house guest is 16. He is polite and serious. He loves basketball so much that I have become a bit of a sports widow; he and the SO are binge watching everything the sports channels have to offer, with Jacques right at their sides. He draws extremely well and gets himself to his classes. He eats very little and asks for nothing.

So, maybe they gave us the poster child.

He has been waiting six months to be given asylum. Rejections are made for many flimsy excuses. Meantime, the French government expects him to live in the roadside camps that they keep raiding and destroying. If, at a hearing, he says he stayed in someone’s home, it creates problems with regard to his legal process. Thus the slightly underground nature of this whole thing.

We are going out of town next week, so he’ll move on. When we come back, we’ll host someone, no idea who. But to me, we have a moral imperative to take care of the children in our communities, even and maybe especially the refugee children. So I imagine we will do this for the foreseeable future. Sadly, refugees and the conditions that create them will not go away any time soon.