We had a referral a few Friday’s ago from the Red Cross regarding a homeless Asylum Seeker who had arrived into Colchester by pure coincidence and was entirely destitute after being wrongfully removed from the Asylum Support system, knew no one and spoke very little English. For privacy reasons I will call him ‘K’.
Thankfully we were able to place K in a hotel for the weekend, give him some money for food, contact his legal aid Solicitor and the Home Office to try and unravel why and how the system has so badly let him down. He was exhausted, hungry, and appeared very overwhelmed. He had been homeless for several weeks.
By Tuesday of the following week, we had connected with a delightful potential host, someone who has hosted our clients in the past, who heard K’s story and was prepared to meet him at his home with the view to him staying temporarily whilst his solicitor tries to rectify the error the Home Office has made. I will call the host F.
Fast forward two weeks and K is grinning from ear to ear when I make my visit to them. He’s wearing an apron and is very happy in F’s kitchen preparing a feast using recipes from his country. It smells amazing. A fragrant Basil sauce is bubbling away on the hob and two different kinds of patties have been prepared in advance ready to cook. K is looking for kitchen tongs and asks using his translate App which comes out on the screen as ‘pliers’…we all have a giggle at that. It’s the second time in as many weeks K has offered to cook because the family really enjoyed his first meal. He quickly brings out his phone and shows me what else he has been up to. He’s been on river walks, been kayaking, cycling, learnt archery, had a ride in a vintage car…all the while being included in family meals and chats via the translate App when needed… which is wonderful and sometimes a bit humorous when translations aren’t 100% perfect, so F tells me!
F explains he’s very happy with K as a guest as he’s willing to help out and get involved in all that’s going on and is good company. F’s elderly mother who also lives there, tells me K’s a lovely ‘boy’ (he’s in his thirties so that made me smile), and is very kind.
K’s access to support from the Home Office should regularise soon, but until it does, he is being looked after in a warm and homely environment, and by the sounds of it, giving back as much feel good endorphins as he’s giving just by being himself, and being open to the kindness that’s being offered to him by F and his family.
This is truly wonderful and really is a brilliant example of how all cultures do get on even with a language barrier, simply by having a shared respect and showing kindness towards each other. We are really blown away by F and his family, and by the transformation in K since that first day we met him. It is a pure joy to see!
Written by Shelley, RA-C Caseworker