Cultural Orientation & Ramadan

The past week has been pretty much business as usual. I taught my cultural orientation class to the newly arrived Bhutanese/Nepali clients on Monday and Wednesday and both days went very well. What I have enjoyed most about the cultural orientation classes are the feedback I get from the case workers who translate while I teach the class. The case workers spend the most time with the clients and are a testament to what information in the cultural orientation are relevant to their clients and what needs to be better tailored to their cultural group. Each group of refugees comes with their own experiences from their home countries, possessing their own cultural values, living standards, regulations on renting apartments, and using public transpiration. Each time I teach the class I try to orient the class towards each cultural groups experiences and needs. The case workers prove to be a valuable resources as their personal knowledge with their own cultural groups gives me a better idea about how to structure my class, and their interaction with Franklin county and landlords gives them the most up-to-date information about policies and concerns so that I may refine the information I present in class.

Overall the climate in the office has been that of tiredness and adjustment. Many of the staff and clients are practicing Muslims and so the adjustment for the fast of the month of Ramadan proves challenging for most, especially the clients who are attending English and employability classes. I cannot imagine sitting in a class for 8 hours, learning new skills and a new language on an empty stomach. I was told by a coworker that the first week of Ramadan is the hardest for adjusting to daily fasting, but after that it becomes a standard routine. Working at CRIS has given me a new respect for my coworkers who choose to fast and continue to work at the same level of intensity and determination of those not fasting.

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