My friend Rachel and I have been tutoring the six children of a Somali family in Hopkins for the past couple years. It has been such a joy and blessing to get to know each member of the family, and to see the children learn and grow. One of the challenges with Shelter In Place Minnesota was keeping up relationships with the children, who were already spending lots of time on their screens doing distance learning. So, our connections shifted from tutoring to texts, FaceTime chats, and occasional parking lot food exchanges (sombusas and molawa for chocolate chip cookies and grocery essentials). I cherish the friendships that God has given me through the tutoring experience, and have been blessed by the family’s hospitality and generosity.

It was such a blessing and joy to see kids playing together and being kids again after months of confinement, and to spend time chatting with the family without a screen between us.
When Shelter In Place restrictions eased up in mid-May, Rachel brought some supplies to decorate flowerpots to help brighten the family’s apartment patio, and her sons brought a toad they’d found in their garden to show to our Somali friends.

The children decorated pots and then planted flower seeds; they rode their bikes around the apartment courtyard; they giggled, squealed and played with the garden toad. It was such a blessing and joy to see kids playing together and being kids again after months of confinement, and to spend time chatting with the family without a screen between us.

We put a drop cloth on the grass in the courtyard outside the family’s apartment… More clothes kept appearing, ready to dye!
Our Somali students have been asking about trying tie-dye since last fall, so Rachel and I planned a tie-dye party for last Friday! Coincidentally, our party was on the last day of Ramadan, and the family excitedly said that they wanted to dye their shirts for the Eid celebration. We put a drop cloth on the grass in the courtyard outside the family’s apartment, and the children, their mother, and a handful of neighbors joined in the fun! More clothes kept appearing, ready to dye! The children must have dyed about 20 shirts and bandannas by the end of the activity! It was so cool to see the children’s joy as they worked on their projects!

-Written by Christina, a SALT (Somali Adult Literacy Training) tutor in Hopkins