Being a mother is a big job, let alone being a mother of four kids in a new country where you don’t speak the language.
But for many families and mothers of families that World Relief serves, this is a reality.
Students from Augustana College have been spending time with client families via google meets as part of their Human Geography of Global Issues class. First-year Giovanni Martinelli said he’s seen first-hand the kind of care and compassion the mother of their family shows daily, even with the language barrier and the mother knowing limited English.
“Without any direct conversation with her, she seems very caring to her children and she tries to help them interact with us,” Martinelli said. “She primarily focuses on the little ones. There’s a small child that’s maybe around one year old, so you can tell that she definitely takes care of them and tries to put them first in everything that she does.”
Senior Rachael Lockmiller meets with a family with four kids all under the age of 10. Her and her classmates usually help with homework or play pictionary and other games with the kids during their google meet call.
Lockmiller said that within the one hour a week they meet with the family, she’s noticed how the mother is constantly in-tune with her children.
“You can just tell that she’s a strong, independent woman, and I hold a lot of respect for her,” Lockmiller said. “Even just in the hour that we’re talking to them, you can see her running around in the background holding the baby, trying to make food, going to the bathroom, changing the baby and making sure the other kids are behaving themselves.”
Martinelli said that the experience meeting with the families has been eye-opening. Even with the language barrier and limited communication, the opportunity to learn about a new culture and meet with new people has been valuable.
“Just talking about the challenges I’m facing, I can’t even imagine what they’re going through,” Lockmiller said. “Just even going to the grocery store, not being able to read English or speak English..and we just take that for granted and don’t even realize how blessed we are.”
Most of all, Lockmiller and Martinelli recognize the strength and caring of the mothers of the families. Lockmiller said she appreciates how much bravery it takes to move to a new country to seek a better life for your family when you don’t even speak the language.
“Whatever it was that they had to do to get over here... I can’t even imagine how much strength she has to have,” Lockmiller said.
May 3rd, 2021
Olivia Doak is a junior at Augustana College interning at World Relief this spring. She is a double major in journalism and communications with a minor in graphic design. She also plays volleyball for Augustana, is a member of Sigma Pi Delta sorority, and is co-editor-in-chief of Augustana's student-run newspaper, the Observer. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.