‘I thought I’d be playing with refugees all day!’…

‘How long have you been here?’

‘Hmmm. Holy cow! It’s been 5 weeks!’

‘We better get movin’ then!’

This was the conversation I had with my supervisor yesterday. The thing is, I feel like I have been moving! Every minute of these five weeks has been filled with meeting and greeting and learning and churning (away) at my new position at Rochester General.  Best part of this new job: a brand stinkin’ new office! Literally. They just finished it. I now have a place to live and I can’t wait to decorate.  🙂

So how are things going?  Things are great.  I’m loving the people I’m working with and the vision we have – helping refugees receive quality healthcare. Yesterday, I successfully pitched my first idea to a group that will help us develop a video describing our program.  One of the most important thing I’ve learned so far is that no matter how much desire and passion people have to help such a vulnerable population, if there is no funding, the program cannot exist.  The video I’m producing seeks to do just that – make us some money!  I’m also working on a grant proposal for a project that will help refugees heal from trauma.  All this in the midst of meeting with every single important person in the refugee community.  How fun!

Here’s the interesting thing.  The things that I’ve been most successful in are also the things I’m finding challenging.  VISTA is not at all what I though it would be.  I think this was because of a lack of research on my part; I thought I would get to play with refugees all day!  The hardest thing for me right now is dealing with this indirect service stipulation.  Sometimes I would just rather be singing with a little Somalian girl than sitting in a board room.  I know that the things I am doing are vital to the health and safety of refugees, so I am constantly reminding myself of the importance of my role.  Regardless, I feel so blessed to have to opportunity to help these people I am so passionate about, and I can’t wait to look back in a year(or even a month!) and realize all the work I did. 🙂


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