Saturday, March 11, 2017

This week we had some bad news that could potentially wipe out a lot of progress that our group of Nigerian refugees has made over the last year. The brother and sister lawyer duo from Caritas, who I really have come to love, did not answer my multiple emails and texts saying that group members were not able to convince immigration officers at the police station that they no longer needed to show passports from their home country to renew their stay permits. Then I got the email. It turns out the very sensible decision of the judge in Palermo, which stated that refugees should not be required to show passports from the countries they are fleeing, does not have any weight in Tuscany. Therefore, Freedom's, Peace's, and Widom's mothers will all have big challenges to face to renew their stay permits or to get documents for the babies. 

It really knocked the air out of me when the reality sunk in. Do I have to get these folks vaccinated, get them airline tickets, get them home safely?? 

I had to call everyone. We made arranagements to bring train fare to Cool and Jennifer tomorrow so that they can go to the embassy in Rome on Monday to find out whether there is any amount of money in the world that would allow them to get a passport for Jennifer who lost hers years ago. Nigerians use a lot of different names and pseudonyms so sometimes they don't even know what name to search under or their own birthdays. Cool has been waiting for his renewal since last November, and he is hoping to finally get to pick up his passport booklet five months later. 

Peace's mom has already been turned away from the embassy in Rome and thinks that she will now have to go back to Nigeria to get her passport in time to renew her documents next year. The lawyers say that if they can prove that their requests are rejected by the Nigerian embassy they can then qualify to get the Italian equivalent, which is called the titolo di viaggio. I am sure that on paper, what the lawyers are saying is true. But, unfortunately, the reality of the situation when you are at the police station or the embassy is often quite different. 

Luckily, an American friend's mom wrote just yesterday to see if she could donate any money to the group. However, we have no idea how much this whole situation will cost financially or logistically or even if it can be resolved.

F helped me to make these photo books that my two middle school English students posed for to illustrate the use of prepositions. They seemed to have fun making the book, and I can't wait to show them the finished laminated copies. F also printed two copies for us to bring to baby Peace and baby Wisdom as their first board books. We are going to go by tomorrow with a mother named Stefania who I met in the piccoli aiutanti group and her friend Theresa, who is a researcher from Pace University that has done a lot of work in the area of childhood education and refugees. Job has had the same fever that Emmanuel had last week, so I don't know if we will get to see Peace.

We are so Type A for sandcastle builders . . . 

Emmanuel cancelled his Italian lesson with me this week because today was the funeral of the woman who raised him in Nigeria and he wanted to be alone. Paul couldn't come either because the restaurant was crowded, but next week I am going to try to do a lesson for both of them together. F brought Emmanuel to the questura/police station again Wednesday, along with some homemade sourdough chocolate bread, but his permesso still wasn't ready to be picked up. I couldn't come because I was busy getting my students at Fabio Perini to narrate a video in English that showed a converting line they used in 2005. I know more about embossing, log saws, rollers, and folding machine configurations than your normal, every day human. It is hard for me to believe I learned all of that stuff and it was not to pass a test or even to win over a cute engineering major. I can be very type A when I want to be.

T is Type A, as well. She got a 10 on her physics test this week, I'll have you know. She seems to range in happiness levels from very miserable to slightly miserable with an edge of upbeat deadpan humor. I am feeling so so about all of my life choices and their impact on people I love. But I think this is normal for families with SAT age people in their homes. Isn't it? ISN'T IT? 

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