Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Face to Face

"For now we see in a mirror, dimly; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known..." (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Today I met a Sudanese refugee and her six year old son. Smiling, she told me her story in broken English. She came to Lancaster about two years ago, and now plans to apply for citizenship in three years. She was from a city about four hours south of Khartoum. "Is that now in South Sudan?" I asked her. No no, she told me, even four hours south of Khartoum is still far from South Sudan. I had kind of guessed that, since she spoke Arabic to her son (a characteristic of the more Arabized north versus the African dialects in the south). With the language barrier and having just met her, I didn't get to ask the full details of her escape from Sudan. But somehow, finally meeting a real-life refugee made things more real to me. Refugees are actual, regular people: normal humans who laugh, cry, eat chips with homemade salsa, and forget the English word for "south". 

The quote at the top of this post is from a chapter in the Bible I read this morning. Little did I know how much it would frame my meeting with this refugee. After weeks of sitting and learning in class (Human Rights, Human Wrongs), us students do "know in part". This is like seeing something in a dirty mirror, dimly...but when we see the face of human rights face to face, we shall know fully. Something will leap out past our intellect, and lodge deep into our hearts. And that is how it should be. 

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