I was in Washington, DC last week and went for a manicure prior to my Million Dollar Consulting® Convention. The manicurist had an exotic look, and I asked where she was from. She told me, Afghanistan. I have a habit of knowing most of the world capitals, and use that to stimulate conversation.
“Kabul?” I asked.
“Yes!” she said, and explained how her parents had come here for more opportunity 20 years ago.
I returned to the hotel by calling Uber, and the driver of the SUV was a very fashionable woman who could have been on her way to the theater. I heard her accent and asked her origins.
“Ethiopia,” she said.
“Ah, Addis Ababa?” I asked.
“Wow, and you pronounce it correctly, very rare!” she replied. She went on to tell me that she came here six years ago, has her own business, and that, “Everything they say about this being the land of opportunity is completely true.”
Back at the hotel, I stopped for takeout food for lunch. The waitress who took my order also had an accent, and I asked from where.
“Somalia,” she said.
“Mogadishu?” I asked.
“You know it? Most Americans do not.” She came just a few years ago in search of a better environment and a job.
This happened within one hour in one city, in fact within two miles in one city. This is why I despise tribes, and cliques, and elitism. We are, all of us, refugees. The origins may change, but the power of the melting pot and the beauty of the mosaic do not. None of these people see themselves as “victims.” The see themselves as joining a great experiment in freedom and opportunity.
© Alan Weiss 2015