By Pita Gomez (’14) and Tracey Alvarez (BMC’14)
This morning we had a late start, but we were ready for our second day of the immigration field study!
Our first stop was at the amazing non-profit organization called La Puerta Abierta (The Open Door) in Kensington. This grassroots organization started four years ago and is one of three known organizations nationwide that offers free social and mental health services to the immigrant community. Here, we had the opportunity to participate in their bi-weekly case presentation meeting through which we were able to see how they serve the Spanish-speaking community.
Afterwards, we met with Haverford House fellow, Ben Van Son, and Philly Fellow, Annie Reading, at HIAS and they spoke to us about their work serving the refugee population in Philadelphia. Annie excitedly shared with us her current development of the community garden project with the Nepali refugees. Ben, as the Refugee Housing and Basic Needs Coordinator, spoke to us about his role in accommodating these newly arrived groups of people. Then, we met with two attorneys, Vleidmy and Philippe, who kindly answered all of our questions regarding legal immigration processes that are relevant to the Latino immigrant community.
We enjoyed a nice, short trip back to Haverford House in the warm weather. As soon as we got back, we got to work…in the kitchen. We volunteered to cook Mexican food for our group. Everyone helped chop tomato, onion, cilantro, and nopales! While Ramelcy, Helen, Alejandra, and Kayoung went out for a walk, we finished making rice, refried beans, chicken, guacamole, and nopal salad.
After a long but very exciting day, we finally sat down to enjoy our Mexican nachos! Yummy.