The first stay-home directives I remember came with a date that seemed impossibly far away. Three whole weeks! That date was today, April 4. Now the orders, or certainly our intentions, stretch into the unknown future. Staying at home has become the new normal.
As the first-hand reports come in from the front lines, this order does not seem burdensome. Continue reading
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in its petty pace from day to day.
Yesterday I taught Ben how to bake bread. He is now in favor of baking all our bread, just as the stores are running out of flour.
Yesterday I made masks for the family, custom fitted to each of our shnozzes. Vic’s was a challenge. They may reassure our neighbors that we won’t cough on them, but I doubt we’ll wear them on walks unless we get The Directive. Continue reading
I can make out menus for the week.
I can shop online for food and text back and forth with the harried shopper who is trying to find substitutions for what I want.
I can cook.
I can do Facebook.
I can, unfortunately, read all the articles. Continue reading
On Monday at Chicago Midway airport we greeted “Ben,” the long-awaited asylum seeker we’re sponsoring, wrested from detention after more than four months. It was in the nick of time. That center near El Paso was being emptied out in preparation for a whole new batch of refugees coming across the border from Mexico. Hundreds of the previous detainees were being sent to other centers around the country. A few were being paroled. Ben got bonded parole.
Phew. He’s here. Just in time for Covid-19. Continue reading
Kate Atkinson, one of my favorite writers, wrote a novel called When Will There Be Good News? I don’t remember what the novel was about but the title has been on my mind a lot, as we have waited for Ben to be paroled as well as during the slog through what has to be (Good Lord we pray!) the last year of Trump.
Short answer: Monday, March 2. Good news came on Monday. Continue reading
“Ben,” the African asylum-seeker whom we are sponsoring, has now been in detention in New Mexico for four months, waiting to be paroled or bonded out. As I’ve written before, he is part a cohort of a dozen or so Africans who came through Mexico and arrived at the border at about the same time—and the last one still in detention.
We’ve been talking regularly on the phone these four months. He calls us Mom and Dad in the African way (he’s actually about the age of our children). We’ve written letters, too. Sometimes it’s easier for Ben, who is a journalist, to express his feelings in writing. The one that came yesterday struck me profoundly. He gave me permission to share it. Continue reading
I was hoping I wouldn’t have to write yet another “waiting” post. I was hoping that something would shake loose and “Ben” would follow his friends into freedom. Failing that, I was hoping I would be able to turn my creative energies in other directions to so that I would find something totally different to write about.
Neither has happened, although something could happen any minute. See, that is the problem: the expectation that something could happen any minute. Not good. Continue reading
Last Thursday afternoon, hours after I’d posted the latest update, word came that one of our three asylum seekers in detention had just been released on bond. “Our”refers to the two other South Bend couples and ourselves, sponsors-in-waiting for three African asylum seekers who have made much of the journey thus far together and have been in a detention facility on this side of the Mexican border since October. Continue reading
I have been learning gradually that what we are doing–connecting with an asylum-seeking refugee whom we have never met but who is now in detention, hoping to get him paroled to us so he can seek asylum in relative freedom rather than from prison—is kind of a new thing. No wonder it has seemed puzzling, iffy, and kind of ad hoc, with new developments at every turn. Continue reading
Sometimes when you are dealing with an asylum-seeker things happen very fast, sometimes very slowly, sometimes not at all. It’s stop-start rollercoaster stuff. Last week, for example, a friend of our guys who had been held for five months in a different detention center was suddenly sprung free on parole with no explanation. There is a welcome party for her tomorrow night at the Episcopal church. Miracles do happen.
Meanwhile, we and the other two sponsor couples we’ve teamed up with, because our guys are being detained together, have adjusted our sights to the long haul. Continue reading