From our Newsletter: Radio 88.9 Interview, Culture Night, Family Reunion

Our Fall 2011 Newsletter is available for download.

Our web-only extras include:

  • Special Report from Instructor Mary Bruce on Culture Night at ILC:

      Excitement was in the air on Monday, October 17, 2011, as students filed in for my evening class’ Culture Night.  Culture Night had been desiginated as a time a student could present a topic which held cultural significance for her/him–a game, a dance,some language instruction, a recipe, etc.  The first intrepid presenter, Savyvanh Thepsourinthone, of Laos, shared her recipe for sticky rice with us.  Mouths watered as she demonstrated her technique preparing and molding rice balls.  Next, Jean Dominique spoke of Haiti’s rich culture, its history and geography.  Jean answered numerous questions from the audience.
     We were all anticipating some dance from four enthusiastic, beautifully dressed young girls from Burma, but unfortunately had a few technical difficulties with the music.  Luckily Nora Dahl was on hand and soon solved the problems.  Onlookers received the graceful dancers as they clapped along in time with the lovely melodies.  The dancers were:  Win Thiri-Tun-11, Mhwe Yannt Tun-7, Eh Khu Htoo-9 and Paw Khee-10.  Thanks much to student Lwin Then for bringing the wonderful dancers to the event.  Their enthusiasm was certainly contagious–they stole the show!  I hope that they continue dancing!
     Later in the evening Novati Ngendakuliyo told us about wedding and dowry customs in Berundi.  He answered lots of questions from interested listeners.  Novati provided us with many topics for further investigation and discussion.
     Thanks to all the students who gave presentations, brought delicious food and cleaned up after the event.  Many thanks also to Nora Dahl for her technical assistance and photography skills.  Culture Night was a time when new friendships were formed  and mutual respect for all cultures reigned.  After all, we really do share so many more similarities than differences even though we are from different places and speak different languages.
  • Special Report from ILC co-founder Marilyn Hegge on a long awaited  family reunion for student Wells Walusai:

Here is a little background on the whole immigration process.
A lawyer(not an immigration lawyer) first filed the Petition for Alien Relative in November of 2003. Petitons were filed for Aleba, Lenga Lenga and Kamana (Wells’ son.)
Even though the petitions were sent in the same envelope, (this is a no, no) they were all processed separately. It was not until March 2008 that Lenga Lenga and  Aleba’s petitions were approved.  The next step was to file the Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration and pay the $400 fee. When I called the State Dept. I learned that Lenga Lenga’s child had never been added to the petition. (I didn’t start helping him until 2008.) Because of Lenga Lenga’s age at the this time, they were not going to allow the child to accompany her! With the help of Senator Kohl’s office, her case was reclassified so that her son could accompany her.
After waiting many months, the two daughters had their interview at the consulate in Kinshasa, DRC. The consulate asked for more proof that Wells was the father. We finally had to have DNA testing done.
Kamana’s petition was denied because they didn’t like his birth certificate. The girls had the same type. We appealed and after waiting one year his petition was approved. Kamana had his interview recently and he too had to have his DNA taken. He is waiting for the results.
This is a shortened version of the challenges of working with the USCIS. Whew!

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