Headed out to meet up with some family at a local lounge. When I say local, around here, that’s anything less than 1 hour to DC.
His name was Eyob, our Lyft driver. Part of why I enjoy taking Lyfts is because I love hearing people’s stories of where they’ve come from and who they are. Eyob is from Ethiopia. Visits every year for 15 days. Came to America 7 years ago on refugee status and has a wife who is now an accountant for the Sheraton. AND Eyob speaks 7 languages!
That’s right! 7! He’s already lived in more countries than the normal American will ever visit in their lifetime. He speaks both East African and Middle Eastern languages.
I thought about what it has to take to know that many languages in your brain. How many different dimensions and levels are available in our brain. How sharp you have to be to function with that capability. I was shamed that I have only mastered one. And reminded of how expansive our brains are. The limitless nature of what can be accomplished.
And yet, sadly, the average American will treat Eyob as if he is less than because he doesn’t “appear” to be from here. Whatever that looks like. As if his accent makes him somehow not able to contribute or inferior. When it is EXACTLY the opposite. This man’s brain power alone is an invaluable asset. This man and his lovely wife, on their worst day, have more to offer to the tapestry of what we are than any vanilla, dry, toastlike, 1 language speaking, low functioning, social media addicted “American”.
THIS is who America is. She is a nation where people for centuries have come from ALL over the world for NEWNESS and freedom (excluding those that there forced and sold to be here). It was the reason then– and it remains the reason now. How shallow for those of us now who just reap the benefits of the migration, the journey, the passage, to stand and act as if there shouldn’t be any more added. My four and no more. Added to the tapestry of what America has always been. A melting pot. Who are we to get to decide when enough is enough?
I am thankful. Thankful Eyob, his wife, and millions of others, have graced this nation with their skills, dimensions, and life experience. They inspire me.
What have I sought out to do and learn? Where have I sacrificed to be able to go to? What have I had to wait, for years, before being allowed to do?
Thank you, Eyob.