Jim and I went to the library today. It was a library where instead of checking out books, we checked out people. When you checked someone out, they sat down with you for 15 minutes and shared their story. It’s called a Human Library.
We went because Jim had to go for his intercultural communications class; I decided to tag along to spend time with Jim.
The weather in RI was a really cold 47 degrees. We’ve had 20 degree days that felt warmer than today. When we got inside it took a while for me to warm up to the idea of talking to strangers. As much as my Meyer’s Briggs type indicator says I am an extrovert I really question that at times.
I was a little nervous but once I settled down I found someone in the card catalogue with an interesting story. My human book was opposed to the movie Hotel Rwanda because it only told part of the story.
My human book wore a beautiful yellow dress and her spirit was as sunny and positive as the color she wore. She was born to a Tutsi mother and Hutu father. The culture in her country dictates that the kids belong to the father, so she was recognized as Hutu. After a change of power in the country, her family was in danger. So they fled.
Their journey was hard and they made tough decisions. She shared that her baby brother was a very chubby baby. While they were traveling he really slowed everyone down. Her mother had to decide what to do. She considered killing the baby or leaving him in order to increase the rest of the siblings’ chances of survival. In the end she decided to continue the journey with him. My human book was very happy that she did.
She shared something that really struck me. When you are fleeing or are a refugee you don’t have time to mourn your losses you are just surviving in that moment. After you get to safety that is when you finally have the time to process everything that happened.
It was a fascinating story. A story I may not have heard if I didn’t attend this event. There are so many people with so many great stories. I hope I get a chance to find more people with great stories. Most important I hope I take the time to listen to those stories.