I spoke today to a group of staff members at the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services. I was invited by the Diversity Committee that seeks to introduce its staff to some background on the cultures of the people they serve. We listened to the Tcha Tcho music of Koffi Olomide. Then I invited people to help read sections of THE GOOD BRAIDER as we looked at some of the struggles of Viola who says at one point she doesn’t know who she is. She’s not all Sudanese. She’s not American. Who is she? Bopha Malone came up to read some of Viola’s words in an impromptu readers’ theater. In the scene Viola is afraid her mother would catch her talking to a boy. Afterwards Bopha, who is the President of the Board of Lowell’s CMAA, wrote to me: “It was great to hear you speak. It was such a coincidence to be picked to read for the last part. I can definitely relate to what your character went through as I went through the same situation during my teenage years.” Sovanna Pouv, director of the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association said, “It’s astonishing to hear the stories of the Sudanese refugees and how it’s so similar to that of Cambodians arriving to the states in the early 80s to mid 90s.”
Thank you to Kowith Kret who organized the event and for the delicious pleasure of going to the Peephapmat Restaurant in Lowell.
Categories: The Good Braider in the Work Place