I presented a workshop at a library last Tuesday. Fifteen minutes after we started, the library had a fire drill (whyyy todaaay???). We all had to go out and waited for almost 20 minutes. I was all worried that the participants would just leave. Then I saw a young gentleman with a vibrant smile approaching me.

He said, "I met you before!"
I said (insert the look of a so surprised face here), "Oh! Really? Oh! Sorry, could you remind me where we met?"
He said, "We met at Bellevue (NYU Program for Survivors of Torture). You had a presentation and you promised to send a copy of your presentation."
I said, "Oh! (again!). Right! I am so very sorry (Shoot!). I promise I will send it tomorrow (make a mental note!)"

Then we continued to talk. He shared with me that he is from Central Africa. This October 17th will mark his 1st year living in New York. "Do you like NY?" I asked. He said, I love it! "I never imagined that I could meet with people from all over the world here." He continued that he started working as a coordinator for a human rights non-profit in his home country and made his way up to Executive Director. I asked what was the biggest human rights violation in Central Africa. "People use rape as a weapon of war," he said. "So we worked with rape victims and orphan children. There are so many conflicts in my country and so many children have lost their parents."

His work and big heart of helping others resulted death threats because his government apparently thinks that he was working for opposition parties. His good intention of working for a good cause forced him to flee and ask for asylum in the U.S. His parents and siblings are still in his home country. He said he is worried about them but can only pray. "I have been looking for jobs but I just don't know how to do it," he said.

I asked, "If you are not working, how do you survive?" He smiled, looked at my eyes and said, "I don't know. I just don't know. Don't ask me how do I survive because I just don't know. But I know that if God has closed one door, He would have opened another door."

The library staff allowed us to enter the building again. I finished my presentation, did send him the power point, and his last words still ringing in my head.

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