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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Givens

Solidarity Amidst Diversity

I saw a beautiful display of solidarity today. I can’t share too many of the details, but a woman who came to stay at the Maria Skobtsova House (MSH), was very badly injured. She went to the hospital and then came to MSH to recover for a few days. This woman is from an African country that is caught in a military conflict.

The woman didn’t do much the first couple days she was here. She mostly stayed in her room and rested. On the surface she seemed to be doing ok. It wasn’t until she showed Rachel her injuries that we realized just how badly she was hurting. The injuries were terrible, and it was a wonder that she was able to stand or walk at all.

We have other women at the house as well, most of them from the Middle East. They all speak the same language as each other and share a culture. The African woman does not share their culture or language. They are unable to communicate without a translator. Yet they recognize the pain in each other’s eyes, the pain that drove them to seek shelter in Europe. As a result, they strive toward the same goal.

Rachel took the African woman to an appointment at the doctor yesterday. The appointment ended with Rachel going to the emergency room with the woman and waiting for five hours to find out she would be staying the night. Her injuries are far more serious than we realized.

At the house, the rest of the women were concerned. They asked questions about where the other woman was and how she was doing. When they were informed that she would have to stay the night, they were worried about her health. This morning, we contacted the hospital to find out that the woman was being discharged and that she could come home. Rachel went to retrieve her and bring her back to MSH. This is where I saw the beautiful solidarity come into play.

When the woman came in the door, the others immediately cheered and started asking how she was feeling. She was having trouble walking, so one woman took her by the arm and led her to a comfortable chair to sit. Another woman rushed to make tea for her, and a third asked her if she wanted to eat something. After she said yes, the woman went to cook some eggs. They brought her the eggs and the tea, and Rachel sat with her, helping her set up her new phone.

The whole display was beautiful, something like a story that might have been told in biblical times. These are women from vastly different countries, religions, and cultures. And yet they cared enough about this one woman to rush to her aid when she was suffering. It was a beautiful depiction that I think demonstrates well the purpose of this house, or at the very least, something important about it.

It was amazing to see the women come together across these various divides and recognize the humanity in each other, knowing that they would want the same if they were in her situation. The reality is, any of these women may very well find herself in the exact same situation. If that happens, I pray they find the same level of comfort and peace from those surrounding them.

This house is a special place. We are not perfect, but we share a goal of recognizing the humanity in each other and loving our neighbor as ourselves.

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