We have had the honor this year of being mentor parents to Moses LeMashon, at Greenville Technical College. Moses came to us from Kenya, where he competed among 300 students to get the opportunity to go to an American community college. We were graced with his presence here.
The year with Moses has flown by. I admit that the first time I met him, when he called me “mom”, I was a bit surprised. I wasn’t quite sure why he was calling me this (I have a name), but with a little research, we found out it is a Kenyan thing. Having said that, I have heard most of these students refer to their mentor parents as “mom and dad.” Interesting.
On Friday night, we were graced with the presence of 11 of these students at our home. More importantly, another Kenyan, Paul, did the cooking. It was ribs on sautéed onions, covered with diced tomatoes and green peppers. They simmered in their own juice for an hour, and he then added a curry gravy. In addition to that, he prepared collard greens cooked in diced carrots, and spoon bread. I made cous-cous, and mexican chocolate pound cake. We had 2 students from Kenya, 2 from Brazil, 2 from Pakistan, one from Egypt, 2 from Cameroon, and one who claims Nigeria (he was born in America). With them were 2 neighbors, 2 friends, a son and his friend.
It was such an interesting evening. The opportunity to get to know some of these students and have them impact our lives has amazed us all. As a group, they are brilliant. I’m so very grateful for this opportunity. The sad part is that this program has been cut from Greenville Tech along with the other community colleges. This is such an important way for our American students to become culturally enhanced. I don’t know what we do about these budgets, but it does seem to me that the 4-year colleges, who have the funding and ability to raise their tuition levels, could do more for supporting the community colleges which work to be so affordable.
These are vital programs for all of us. Moses and friends will be sorely missed.