I have been working with Freedom House since May and school has ended for the summer and it’s noticeable. When the kids are not participating in summer programs, they spend the day in the house. They are always full of energy and find creative ways to entertain themselves. Sometimes, they find rulers and pass them to each other under a door. Other times, they will ask me for glue for a “secret project” (it ends up they wanted to make slime).
Some of the kids are able to juggle multiple languages in their heads. One of the kids is still quite young and her speaking skills are developing and we often joke that she will know five languages soon due to the variety of languages spoken around the house. One of the mothers also pointed out to me that her children have started mixing their native language with English without even realizing it. I overheard one say “il est là-bas avec the white shirt.”
The phrase, “it takes a village” is an understatement when it comes to Freedom House. In the house, it is common for residents to volunteer to watch another resident’s kids while they are out for an appointment. Sometimes, there are volunteers who are able to come in and assist with childcare.
I do have to wonder what it is like for the other residents to interact with the kids that are here. For many they had to leave behind their families back home when they came to Freedom House. They have plans to bring their children over with them once they are granted asylum—but it is a lengthy process. Freedom House residents have all overcome incredible challenges, but it can be even more difficult to do that without their loved-ones. At the end of the day, Freedom House residents have to act as a family for one another.