Refugee resettlement simply would not be possible without the support of dedicated volunteers like Pang. Herself an immigrant, Pang was looking for a way to give back to the community by helping others adjust to life in Minnesota. Read on to hear the heartwarming story of the friendship that has developed between Pang and her new refugee friend, Paw Moo*.
My name is Pang and I’m a Befriender to Paw Moo. Paw Moo and I have been working together to help her have an easier time adjusting to her new life here in Minnesota for about one month now. I visit her twice a week on Wednesdays and Fridays. Paw Moo lives with her son in a one bedroom apartment.
On my first meeting with Paw Moo, I observed that she is very talkative and funny. Paw Moo said that she likes to make new friends and meet new people and was wondering if I could take her to visit her friends. One of the things that I’ve been helping Paw Moo with is going through her mail and separating the junk mail from the important ones. I’ve also taken her and her son to change their mailing address because they’ve just moved to a new apartment.
One of the things that Paw Moo wants to learn is English. Paw Moo told me that she wants to learn English so that she can communicate with people here. Since Paw Moo wants to learn English, I’ve been teaching her the alphabet and some English words. Paw Moo is a funny person. The first time I met her, she told me that she only knows four English words and those words are yes, no, thank you, and okay. Communication is a big issue for me and Paw Moo because she doesn’t speak English and I don’t speak Karen. Usually when I am visiting Paw Moo, she asks the neighbor to come over and help translate for me. Sometimes I don’t know if what I’m saying is getting translated correctly or not, but I’m grateful that the neighbor is willing to come over to help translate for me and Paw Moo.
Paw Moo is an elderly person so learning for her is slower. However, she always puts in a lot of effort when I am teaching her English. We always have a great time together and when we don’t understand what each other are saying we always laugh it off and start over again. Working with Paw Moo has been a wonderful and educational experience for me.
If you’re interested in building an enriching friendship like Pang and Paw Moo’s consider volunteering with us! Our Volunteer Orientations are a great way to learn about the resettlement process and our many volunteer opportunities. Contact the Volunteer Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-230-3219 to learn more, or to get started, go to our volunteer page and fill out an online application.
*Name has been changed to protect privacy.