African refugees

Bbean32

Many refugees in Greeley, Colorado are Muslims from Somalia or other parts of East Africa, who, like those in Garden City Kansas, work in the meatpacking industry.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, Burmese refugee Sultan Ahmed thought he would be seeing his family in less than a year, but President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees and immigration halted all that and Ahmed was told it would take two or more years to bring his family to Greeley.

Brueghel, 16th Century Belgian painting / Wikipedia

I sat, basking, recently, in the sunlight of this dying autumn season, a few butterflies flittered amongst faded zinnias and browning marigolds, a wasp sank sluggishly to my table, and I was thinking.   

The last few months…so tough…increased work demands, mounting pressures and expenses at home…a dying friend, my head cold. The shameful mockery of our democratic processes during this year’s Presidential campaign… The recent arrests of three southwest Kansans for plotting a terrorist attack on a Muslim-Somali community…. Then, the opening lines of WH Auden’s  poem, from the late 1930’s, came to mind:

About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters; how well, they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along….”

That’s me: I’m guilty. I’ve just been walking dully along. For one, I’ve not been as invested, as committed, to HPPR’s Radio Readers this fall as I could have been. But who can blame me? These books have been, well, hard.

FALLOU NDIAYE

Hi, my name is Fallou Ndiaye.  I am originally from Senegal, West Africa.  I currently live in Garden City, Kansas. My story of coming to the United States began when I worked at the Embassy in Senegal because Senegal is the long ally of the United States. The last three Presidents visited Senegal, so when I work there, they welcome you and greet you in a respectful way and give me visa to get my chance to come here in the United States.

When I came here, I learned that the opportunities are open to everyone – to everyone who wants to move up, they give you a chance to do it. So, every place since then, I work more than a decade. I was looking for a job and they give me that job, the same job they provide to everyone.  So, even if I don’t speak the language at that time very clearly to them, they help me.  They help me and guide me and train me as they train American people to do the job like everybody.

Say What?

Oct 24, 2016
NPR

The third book in HPPR’s Radio Readers Fall read bears the enigmatic title of What is the What.  A collaborative effort between novelist Dave Eggers and Valentino Achak Deng, the novel is set, primarily, in war-torn Sudan.  Both Eggers and Deng have said that they believed the book needed to be written to share and document Deng’s experiences as among the millions dead and displaced by the Sudanese Civil War.  Both men were committed to creating a work that would document the culture of Deng’s people, the Dinka.

As Deng talked about his life, Eggers collected vast amounts of material—a couple years’ worth of conversations-- then struggled to organize it in a compelling way, one that didn’t play on scenes of horror and brutality in prurient ways. He considered various titles for the book – one was It Was Just Boys Walking and another was Hello, Children. Those titles, as Eggers has said, suggested a focus on Deng’s experiences during the war and in refugee camps in Ethiopia and in Kenya. But, Eggers has said, eventually neither title seemed right for the book.  After all, in Eggers’ words, by the time he and Deng were collaborating, “Valentino had been a man for a long time…and he and the other so-called Lost Boys were tired of being known as boys. The story of Valentino's life would need to be equally, if not more so, about the issues he faced [as a man].”  Eggers began to explore ways that the novel/memoir might be crafted to convey questions about Dinka culture and ongoing conflicts in Sudan and Darfur

( http://www.vadfoundation.org/it-was-just-boys-walking/), and, it would seem, the story of Deng’s time in the United States.

Can You Hear Me Now?

Oct 10, 2016
BBC

We’re talking about Dave Egger’s What is the What, the third book in HPPR’s Radio Readers Fall Read. Our theme is stories, and, in this novel, Valentino Achak Deng recounts his life.  Rather than presented chronologically, rather than moving linearly through time,  Valentino’s narrative is fragmented, episodic, largely retrospective. It encompasses twenty some years, beginning in the relative present of his working minimum wage jobs in various eastern and southern cities of the United States, then to his early childhood in southern war-torn Sudan to a disordered life in the US, then back to resettlement in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya. The novel concludes as Valentino prepares for yet another beginning, another relocation. When I think about it, Valentino’s life is much about endings and departures as it is about beginnings and arrivals.  His story, like Enrique’s, like Antonia’s is comprised of hostility,  hunger, violence, and death, stories that seem impossible to bear.

One Neighbor's Story - Uganda to the High Plains

Oct 5, 2016
Dodge City Community College

Mohammad Omar - Hi, my mane is Mohammad Omar.  I am from Africa, especially Uganda.  I am here since 2014, but I am living now in Dodge City.  I like Dodge City, Kansas, because we have a lot of work here.  Before I am working Tyson Food.  I start again Cargill Company.  Now I am working three years at National Beef.  So, we are happy to be here in Kansas, Dodge City.

What Kind of Book is This?

Oct 3, 2016

Since August, Radio Readers have shared stories about borders and becoming. Our stories have been prompted by the books in our Fall read: Cather’s My Antonia and Nazario’s Enrique’s Journey.

The third book in this series is Dave Eggers’ 2006 novel, What is the What : The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng.  Recognized by various organizations as a “best” and “notable” book, What is the What is titled an autobiography, described as a novel, yet frequently classified as social history.

Why They Come Here

Sep 22, 2016
ANNE HOLT, Edina, Minnesota

Following is a provocative story shared by a reader.  On Sunday, November 13, 2016, HPPR Radio Readers Book Club will be discussing thoughts about immigrants and their stories.  We hope you'll join us.

From Anne --

I know. You want me to shut up. I love you, but I don't care.

On this day two years ago, I, along with some of the best human beings I know, visited a wall with nearly 30,000 names of human beings who were killed or disappeared in El Salvador during the 1980s. And it’s said to be an incomplete list.