August Haverford House Update from Lili Domenick '19
As we move into the second month of Haverford House, we continue to settle into a rhythm of work and communal living. I have come to deeply appreciate the moments of reflection and listening that we share each day as we tell one another about our days. Our bi-weekly communal meals and house meetings provide more intentional moments to spend time with one another and share delicious food and conversation. As I write this update, Hanae is in the process of baking about 100 cookies for a phone banking event at HIAS. We are all supporting her efforts by taste-testing the end product!
July and August have brought many sunny and muggy days! The tomatoes that we planted on the front porch are looking a bit withered, and we have been feeling grateful for our nice cool house. Some of the Fellows managed to escape the heat with a day trip to the Delaware beach last weekend!
As a house, we also attended a summit hosted by the Philadelphia organization Global Citizen called Anti-Racism: Deconstructing White Fragility & Responsibility that took place at Reading Terminal Market. We had the chance to sit down and talk with individuals who had traveled from all over the city about various discussion questions. The summit provided an opportunity for us to learn and listen as well as to engage in important conversations and self reflection.
As the summer months draw to a close, some of us are experiencing shifts in projects or responsibilities at work. Feven has been working very hard to help plan AFAHO’s 3rd annual African Family Fun Day at Bartram’s Garden that took place on August 17th! In the coming weeks, she anticipates learning more about additional projects and engaging with other areas of the organization’s work.
My own placement responsibilities have shifted a bit in recent weeks with the conclusion of the Puentes de Salud summer literacy program. I jumped right into the beautiful whirlwind of summer camp, and spent four action-packed weeks supporting literacy lessons, chatting with students and families, supervising trips to local art and nature sites, and playing lots of soccer. We celebrated the end of the summer program with a family pool party at the Haverford faculty pool! I miss spending time with kids and tutors, but I am enjoying a few weeks of more relaxed meetings, email catch-up, and planning before our fall programming starts!
One of my favorite parts of Haverford House is getting to learn about all of the amazing work that my housemates and their colleagues are doing each day. Through her work at HIAS, Hanae has been learning a lot about the implications of changes to the United States’ immigration policies, including efforts to limit the number of refugees that the country admits each year and the newly released public charge ruling that could affect visa and green card applicants who are using public benefits. We are deeply appreciative of the knowledge and insights she shares with us. We hope to host an event soon so that she can share these updates and action steps with a wider audience.
We are all eager to see what learning opportunities and adventures the coming months will bring!