Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Goodwill of Elmi

Elmi is my one faithful sewing student at N.I.C.E who calls me by the name "seamstress".  He comes every Monday 10 minutes early to class in his Goodwill uniform with a huge smile on his face.  Elmi inhabits every meaning of the word goodwill.  He has an incredible attitude of kindness and friendliness so it only seems appropriate that his shirt has a patch over his heart that states "Goodwill".

Elmi comes from Somalia in eastern Africa where the country has been in a terrible civil war since 1986.  He worked in a kitchen for most of his life and has a wife and 12 children.  Can you imagine!?  He assures me this many children is normal in his country.  Men would come to his house with guns pointed at him and demand for his wife.  He would say no and then they would insist that he give them his son.  After years of fear, he and his family moved to the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya.  He lived there for 9 years with his family when finally he was able to come to the United States.

While in Kakuma, he learned to sew at a tailoring course that a relief organization supported. 

Elmi's dream is to become a professional tailor and sew men's suits and women's dresses.  When I asked him what he'd like to make, he said he'd like to a make a long dress with a v-neck for his wife...and that's exactly what we're going to do!  Wish me luck! (after all, I don't really know how to sew)

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