A reflection from Susie Fikse, Executive Director
Number 107 was at the far end of a dark hallway in the extended stay hotel. The door opened, revealing a tiny kitchen that was little more than a counter and sink, with a view of two queen beds—a typical hotel room. This was not a place I would want to live for a couple nights, let alone for several months! But a dark-haired, four-year-old girl popped out of bed and greeted me with a bright smile and waves of welcome. Clearly surprised and flattered to have a visitor, her parents immediately rolled the desk chair into the kitchen to offer me a seat.
While the room might have seemed dreary and cramped to me, this Afghan family said they were grateful to be in a private space after two months crowded into a Texas military base with thousands of other evacuees. Through an exchange of simple English, they expressed gratitude for the hygiene supplies I delivered and said they were happy to be here. Here, in this dreary, cramped hotel room with indefinite plans for the future.
Later that day, picking up a few items for another refugee family, I was newly aware of how narrow a slice of what’s available at Target would be considered “essentials” for a family from Afghanistan living in a small hotel room.
Just this slight reminder of the material abundance I take for granted is one of the many reasons I appreciate the opportunity to move toward the poor and vulnerable. I need to remember that, yes, it is possible to be happy and grateful even while wearing the same clothes for a week, sleeping in the same room as the kitchen, and entertaining a four-year-old with the same two toys for days on end, As we respond to the great needs of our new neighbors, the gifts God has given us become a source of gratitude and blessing to those He puts in our paths.
If you’d like to help an Afghan family with short-term needs, or build a long-term relationship, please visit the Hope for San Diego website.