Hannah Hardin Story
I am currently sitting in a café on the corner of Broadway and 105th in NYC. Sipping some coffee. Taking in the views, the people, and the heat. And all the while, comfortably knowing that when I’m finished here, I’ll be going back to a quiet room with AC and candles that smell like a garden.
I am sitting here fully aware of the privilege that it is to sit at a corner café on Summer vacation. As the hustle and bustle drowns out any voices of reality in my head, another voice makes its way to the surface. Angel. “Shukuru”. She is 10, vibrant, quietly hilarious, loves to dance and is eagerly finding her footing in America.
Angel and her family of nine immigrated to the states as refugees from the Congo. They first stayed in NYC then were placed in the Vickery Meadow area of Dallas. I met Angel this past Spring at Refugee Resources. She had been in Dallas for less than a year and was very afraid of the threat of tornados. Her school had conducted a tornado drill, yet unknowingly left out what a tornado actually is to a young girl who ran to the basement with her class mates thinking they were being chased.
Over the last several months, I have definitely learned more from Angel than she’s probably learned from me. She, at 10, has shown me how to endure hard transitions in life with a joyous laugh. She has shown me how to pursue truth even when it doesn’t earn you a cool social stat in a new school. And she has taught me how to make the most delicious chicken and rice with minimal ingredients.
It’s easy for me to sit in this little corner of the world and realize the material blessings I have as a working, white American. It’s easy to share that wealth – little risk involved. However, as thoughts of Angel, “Shukuru”, and her entrance into this country, the reasons her family fled their home, the hardships they’ve faced since they’ve arrived and settled swirl in my mind, I realize what an immense gift it is to know her. To be allowed to be a part of her world and her educational journey as a literacy mentor. To pray with her weekly and remind each other of God’s faithfulness in the good and bad.
As a follower of Christ in Dallas, we are given such a unique opportunity to shift the line of vision of so many in our city from themselves to people who are new to this city, scared of the unknown and longing to be seen. I love that Alysa and her work with Refugee Resources creates an avenue for this ministry to the refugee community in Dallas. Let’s know them. Let’s see them. Let’s embrace them as Christ has embraced and is embracing us.