Welcoming Refugees, Creating Community in St. Louis

The first thing she tells me, when I ask what they need, is “nothing.” She knows this English word well and shakes her head, with a small smile. He chimes in, watching her as he speaks, “we all have each other.”

They have been in St. Louis only a few weeks when I first meet them, and their journey from Iraq has been five years in the making. Six children, ranging from six months to 11 years. The kids are playful and jovial, quick to sit in, to try and join discussion. They care for their infant siblings naturally and without being asked. They say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in tiny accents. They know how to say that they are ‘good’. And if you ask them how they are, that is what they will tell you. Mostly, they are quiet, until prompted to play, or talk, or be silly. And once they realize it’s okay, they are great at being silly.

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