Thursday, November 24, 2016

Today was pretty discouraging. We got up early to take Emmanuel to the lawyer's. He is missing his son Precious, from whom he has been separated for the last two years. In order to get Precious here from Nigeria, he must have asylum in Italy and a valid permesso di soggiorno. He is not there yet. I love the lawyer from Caritas. She is from the south of Italy and she adopted her son. I believe he was born in Vietnam or Cambodia. She truly cares about people, but when she is at work she is hard as nails, so sometimes I can't read her. Today, after we found out that they are relocating the immigration part of the police station in Pistoia, and that Emmanuel's case is too complicated for the simple renewal procedures where you fill out a kit, and that we have to wait until next week to ask for an appointment at the new location; I decided to use the rest of the allotted time asking the lawyer questions about what she thought of the way Emmanuel and his family have to survive here. I asked her what she thought when we first presented our group to her last year and why she thought this group of immigrants is forced to live as outlaws because they had the misfortune to arrive before the advent of SPRAR which is the normal network for processing refugee arrivals in Italy. She had no idea or recollection of the situation; and, what was more dismaying, she didn't see any legal issues with what is going on. She classified it as a political problem, and she qualified it by saying that she has seen much worse. 

I sent letters to various refugee organizations throughout Italy and I am awaiting replies. Those that I have received so far either say that they only help refugees in their provinces, or list other organizations that I can try. 

On the way home, Jennifer called me to ask me to pay for her son's medicine. I had to pass someone begging who lives in Tina and Job's house when I passed by the bakery, and he just shook his head at me. Then he said that he didn't have words for the messed up situation they have at the house. I wanted to say that I was also afraid. The other day I got a letter in the mail from the Court of Appeals in Florence and I didn't know whether to think that the owners of his house were trying to frame me for the fact they haven't paid their rent in eleven months or if it was an official statement saying that they planned to deport Emmanuel for having lost his case. I called the lawyer tearful and too afraid to open the envelope. It turned out to be a letter saying that I have to testify before a judge because that fancy gym that I used to work at has some tax problems and they are calling me in for questioning about their practices, not mine. I hope. I told the lawyer when I called that she had to promise me she would not let me become the next Amanda Knox. 

Tina's sister called me to say that her father's "body is alive" thanks to me. So that is some money that went to good use, anyway. 

At Christmas, I am going to make what some would say was a huge error in social working, but I invited Tina, Job, Emmanuel, and Peace over to watch Queen of Katwe and have some peanut soup and spicy rice at my house. 

Peace expressed what I feel today perfectly:

WTF is going on in America??


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