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As I See It

The learners, as they are called at Blue Ridge Literacy, are gutsy people. They are starting a new life in a new country that is different from what they have previously experienced. Whether by choice or by force, it must be difficult to leave what is familiar no matter how hard times are. The common denominator for each person is that they all are seeking change. Entering this new homeland of so many differences, even down to different time zones, is probably both exhilarating and terrifying. Some have no idea what is being said to them, nor can they read the many papers shoved in their faces without an interpreter. Imagine what a solitary individual or single parents with young children entering this country must feel.

The stress of not having the ability to express themselves or to ask questions must be confounding. A couple entering this new homeland has the advantage of having someone who can speak their language. They have someone with whom they share the day's events, whether joyous or frightening, lessening their anxiety. Sharing thoughts and ideas are ways to grow and to release tension.

Most people have experienced major life changes and understand the fear and dread that come with changing the source of their lives. Most of us know how it feels to begin college, start a new job, or move away from family and friends. We also know the feelings of relief and acceptance we feel when a smile or a kind word is proffered by a stranger. So, I hope that we are imparting the same welcoming acts of kindness whenever we encounter our new city occupants. They are now our new neighbors and hopefully our new friends.

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