A post by Sarah Taylor, CRIS’ summer communications intern
Recently, CRIS took a field trip with eleven of our clients to visit the Ohio statehouse in downtown Columbus. The eleven clients were all students in our English classes and early and advanced employment classes. This was the first trip to the statehouse for all of our CRIS clients and they were all very excited to see the “real America.”
Employment liaisons Mohamed Nuur and Tek Nepal organized the field trip after brainstorming ways in which they could expose CRIS clients to life in Columbus. The group they compiled was a proportional representation of the main refugee groups that CRIS serves, Somali, Iraqi, and Nepali refugees.
I sat down with Mohamed Nuur, one of our employment liaisons, to hear his stories from the day. The day was a day of learning how to perform crucial tasks. The first lesson focused on how to use a bus pass and how to ride the bus, which the clients rode for 51 stops through downtown Columbus. Upon entrance into the Statehouse, an officer welcomed us and gave us a summary of the history of the Statehouse and the floors we should make sure to see, said Nuur. The spacious main hall was beautiful, and the group spent at least half an hour there taking pictures.
The group migrated down a flight of stairs into the basement filled with signs and diagrams of Ohio’s history. The verbal translation of the signs into Arabic, Somali, and Nepali by our employment liaisons and by the students themselves ensured everyone had an in-depth and informed understanding of their new home’s history. A climb up to the third floor brought the courtroom where a guide explained the Ohio senate’s judicial processes.
With their brains full of knowledge about Ohio, the group left the Statehouse and strolled towards the Tim Hortons across the street where Mohamed taught the clients their second life lesson: “How to Order Coffee.” A walk to the Columbus Commons allowed the clients a moment of respite to enjoy their fresh coffee and lunches, to take some more pictures, and to call home about all the morning’s adventures.
As they boarded the COTA bus to return to CRIS, the clients expressed that they wished they could take field trips like this every day.