Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Zimbabwe to Texas

Last week, I traveled to Texas for a work related [i.e. non- Hoops of Hope] conference...yes, Austin's dad has a job other than Hoops of Hope :). Our group rented out a swanky suite in a big hotel to host a bunch of customers and after hanging out for a while, I slipped out to go back to my hotel a few miles or so down the road. I went to the transportation desk to arrange a ride and found myself in the back of a big SUV. It's true - everything is bigger in Texas.

My driver was a nice lady who appeared to be in her late '40s and when she asked me how my day was going, I quickly picked up on her accent. Turns out she was from Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe is directly below Zambia where Hoops of Hope is working). Being a curious person, I began asking her how in the world she got from Zimbabwe to Texas. Her story rocked my little world. She and her husband fled when violence erupted in her village and ended up coming to the US to find work. They are both drivers at this hotel where we were meeting.

The rest of the story I'll admit caused a few tears. I asked her about her family and she proceeded to tell me that she and her husband have five children. The youngest is now eight years old and they left him when he was three. She told me the only way she gets through each day is through God and knowing that her sister is caring for her children. The story went on for a while and ends up all their paperwork is now final and they are hoping to save enough to get their children back with them within the next several months.

I know what everyone thinks....scam, right? Well, honestly, I don't know. I do know her accent is real. I know her tears are real. I know the stories from her homeland are real. If her story then is real, what would be so bad to cause a person to leave their family and small children? I'm not sure and I'm not sure I ever want to know. I am sure that I'm incredibly fortunate to live in the United States.

If her story is a scam, oh well, I've been had. For me, I'd rather give with some risk, than to not give at all.

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