Written by Elizabeth Thayer
The painting 'Running Water' was accepted into the Zion Art Society Competition. It will run from 24 Sept to 13 October. It will then travel with 24 other paintings to a show in conjunction with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints' Oakland CA Temple Open House for October and November.
" Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget, that until the day God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these two words, 'Wait and Hope.” — Alexandre Dumas
Their whole lives were destroyed: comfortable homes, communities, families, studies, steady jobs, and hopes for the future. They fled, carrying little but the hope of a safer future with them. Now they wait, paused for who knows how long in tents on the site of an abandoned factory in Greece. Comparatively speaking, it is not the worst place to wait. This camp has the luxuries of a small school room, a medical unit, an electric strip for charging phones, two rows of port-a-potties and a shower unit… and running water from a hose for drinking and for washing. For most, running water used to be a common convenience that was taken for granted. Now, like the hope that keeps them going day in and day out, it is a precious, sustaining necessity. Barbara Kingsolver wrote, “The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.” And that is what these refugees do. They cling to hope in an ocean of uncertainty. In the words of Rahim, “Other than hope, we don't have anything else. Every day the refugees keep praying and nobody hears their voice except God. They are still waiting…But still, we have hope.”
"Running Water" is for sale ($5,000) with all proceeds going to TSOS.
The Emerald Project is a Utah-based organization that carefully designs dialogues to engage with non-Muslims to make Salt Lake Valley a more welcoming home to Muslims. As many of our refugee friends belong to the Muslim faith, we applaud opportunities that foster understanding and were pleased to support The Emerald Project’s 3rd annual “Slam the Islamophobia” event on February 15th.
Refugees often risk their lives crossing deserts, jungles, and oceans all in the search for shelter, freedom, or happiness. Yet, even once they’ve reached physical safety, mental mountains emerge that make daily life an uphill climb. At the November 2022 conference for the Utah Chapter of the Society for Public Health Education (USOPHE), presenters Shurooq Al Jewari and Sasha Sloan discussed mental health and inclusion, focusing on immigrants and refugees.
Holidays are an important time to include newcomers. Newcomers are often aching for the traditions and holiday magic they knew at home - and the connections with family and friends. The Garcias* came from a strong family and community that knew generous and giving holiday traditions. I knew, when I met our new friends from Venezuela, the rich bond we would have; this was a kindred spirit family. Even though we have been bad at communicating (Google Translate is such a false hope), it was easy to find connections that helped us love each other.