Of all the dinners I’ve eaten this year, one of the most memorable occurred on a regular February evening in a small house in Chattanooga, TN.
We arrived in Tennessee with one our favorite clients, Episcopal Migration Ministries (who we wrote about here), an awesome organization that resettles refugees from around the world in communities throughout the US. But on this day in Feb, in the midst of our shoot we had to stop and attend to our waiting plates, stuffed high with rice and vegetables and flatbread. Wahab insisted. We ate as the living room buzzed with the sounds of the neighbors who had just stopped by. The adults chuckled in the corner and the kids raced from room to room. With our cameras on our laps, we ate and watched this beautiful scene unfold.
For me this evening was emblematic of the quiet power of welcoming refugees from around the world. Wahab, who worked as a contractor for US forces in Iraq, lost everything in the escalating violence. Work became a daily danger. His kids couldn’t leave the house. But here they were…. after being resettled by EMM, sharing a Tuesday night with friendly neighbors. We could see such joy in Wahab’s face… at the simplicity of being able to work hard all day and return to his own home to help his kids do their homework. It’s this patchwork of normal moments that we’re working with EMM to capture in a new series of videos focusing on individual refugees. We hope you enjoy Wahab’s triumphs (big and small) as much as we enjoyed our visit to Chattanooga.
Mesmerized by how welcoming Wahab and his family were after losting so much, we didn’t leave a single thing on our plates.