Today, I learned the meaning of a low-spirited word. Xenophobia: An intense and irrational dislike and fear of people from other countries. A dislike and a fear of people from a different place!
This word made me think about a recent radio interview where I was asked; “how do you feel about immigration?”
An immigrant is a person who comes to live in a country other than their own. A person who enters another country in order to improve their quality of life.
Being an immigrant myself, I believe that any immigrant, no matter their background, rich, poor, educated, illiterate, white, black, blue… is a person that has plenty of courage and determination.
When a person decides to move to another country, they pack up not ONLY all their possessions, but life as they know it. They abandon their comfort zone, their family, their friends, and their culture.
In reality, the only thing that migrants carry with them is HOPE. Hope for a better life!!!
After leaving everything, an immigrant arrives to his new home… scared and full of dreams ONLY to confront xenophobia.
Legal or illegal, an immigrant has few opportunities. Mostly, in order to survive they work in jobs that you could never imagine.
Often their rights are violated and always, they walk the streets in fear of being stopped or expelled.
As an immigrant, you never close the circle; you never stop dreaming of the day that you will be able to re-unite with your family. Always, trying to maintain your culture, your principles while adapting to a new environment.
Being an immigrant is a difficult experience, but it is also an exciting experience.
As an immigrant you arrive excited to your new environment. Your vision is not clouded and you will find opportunities where the locals can't see them anymore. The tastes, the colors, the sounds are new to you; you are like a kid, everything is a new experience.
In your mind, you have decided that you came to succeed and constantly seeking for opportunities and ways to improve yourself. You are willing to do the pitiful jobs because you know, that every job is only a step closer to accomplishing your dreams.
I lived this tale in my own flesh, so I know!
Today, I truly believe that a migrant is the best asset for any country.
Most immigrants do not come for social benefits, they come to find work and to improve their lives and those of their families.
Indeed, employment is the single most important determinant of migrants’.
So when I was asked: “how do you feel about immigrants?”
I say, I feel great; I have a deep admiration and respect for them.
In fact, we should create a system where we assist the right people to cross the border legally. And everybody should make a conscious effort to better integrate immigrants within the society.
Most importantly we should view immigrants as an investment rather than a cost.
An immigrant is a great asset, a blessing for any country!!!
I have always been a tough critic about teachers and the education system. However, today Nesrin, my wife, made me realize how fortunate our kids have been to have had some amazing educators in their lives.
Nesrin wrote this letter to the teachers that made a positive and important change in our children’s lives and I have to share it!
"It has been almost 4 years now that we moved from Washington, DC to Ecuador and now in Madrid. We have watched our children adjust to different situations, schools and environments and most importantly how they have grown!
What we see today is the result of not just parenting, but the results of a few fantastic teachers that had a huge impact on our children and have helped shape their path to where they are today! We would like to extend a BIG THANK YOU for your mentoring, your inspiration and every hour spent with our children to carve a path that has provided them with confidence and happiness! As parents that has always and will continue to be our goal!
Erin, thank you for being the first person to discover Gabriel's speech problem when his pediatricians said otherwise. Since that day you spent hours and hours working with Gabriel for several years and it worked! Gabriel has become a great public speaker! Isabela came along with mild speech corrections and you took care of it!
Stephen, you took a 3rd grader, Daniela, who was not exposed to the level of math she was supposed to have had and got her caught up. Endless hours of work, from both sides, and proved to everyone that she could do it if provided with the material! It did not stop with Daniela, but continued with Gabriel and Isabela! All 3 have been getting A's in math! One of their strongest subjects!
Didi and Kevin, during all the above you were the teachers that understood that every child learns differently! You allowed Gabriel to be himself and enjoy learning! What a rare accomplishment in today's academic environment. One of the reasons, Didi, he always wanted to bring you a doughnut to class everyday because it was your favorite thing. Kevin, he thought you were just so cool and saw you more his equal than an authority figure!
Karen, Gabriel was questioning his intelligence because of his dyslexia and you showed him that they both have nothing to do with one another. You navigated his path through the confusion of dyslexia to the clarity of what it means to have the gift of dyslexia and knowing how to work around it. Gabriel had become one of the best writers and his analytical thinking in social interactions is way beyond his years.
Today Gabriel is in 9th grade, Daniela is in 10th grade and Isabela is in 6th grade. We as parents and children tend to remember the naughty days and bad teachers in our lives. Today we, as the Fraga-Abaza family, would like to remember the teachers who had a passion on making a change! We hope you continue to have that passion because we are an eyewitness of the results!!! Thank you for being a part of our children’s life and helped to shape their future!
What Daniela, Gabriel and Isabela will accomplish in the future is unknown, but what is known is that they were surrounded by an amazing group of mentors, teachers and friends who believed in them!
We wish you all the best Holiday Season ever and a HUGE THANK YOU!
Mauricio, Nesrin, Daniela, Gabriel and Isabela
"A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops" - Henry Adams
Who I am today as a person is largely due to my failures!