Nathan, one of our employment counselors, had a very typical day last month. After a morning spent working in the office, he took Abdi, a recently-arrived Somali refugee, to a job interview. On the drive home, Abdi began to tell Nathan about his day, which had been nothing short of extraordinary.
At about 3 am, his wife Zainab knew that she was in active labor and needed to head to the hospital to deliver her first baby. Abdi called 911 for an ambulance to bring her to the hospital. He told the dispatcher: “My wife is having baby.” They asked him: “Is she having contractions?” With his limited English and the early morning excitement, he heard “construction” instead of “contractions”. Confused, he responded: “What? My wife is not a building! She does not work construction.” The dispatcher and Abdi continued their conversation for several minutes, trying to sort through the misunderstanding.
In the meantime, the ambulance arrived to take them to the hospital while Abdi was still on the phone with the 911 dispatcher. With no time to spare, Abdi went to the hospital in his pajamas—shorts and a t-shirt—despite the cold Minnesota winter weather. Later that morning, Zainab gave birth to their firstborn daughter, Mariam.
Despite a sleepless night and the life-changing event of welcoming his first child, Abdi did not forget that he had a job interview that afternoon, and he was far too motivated to provide for his family to cancel it. After making sure that his wife and daughter were taken care of, he found his way out of the large hospital and took the bus home (still in shorts, a t-shirt, and sandals!) to change for his interview. He then took another bus to MCC Refugee Services, arriving in time to head to his interview with his employment counselor, Nathan.
Because of transportation barriers, he did not secure the position he interviewed for that day, but Abdi quickly found another job and started work. With his level of commitment and responsibility, we are sure that Abdi and his family will do well in Minnesota!
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