Update on Asylum Seeker Briana

by Lisa Irey
Two weeks ago, our asylum seeker arrived safely in Des Moines. We met her at the airport, which was a ghost town due to the corona virus, in our masks and holding a sign that we made saying “Bienvendas Briana!” (Welcome Briana) We brought her to our home and with the expert interpretation skills of our very own Sue Huber, we were able to show her around and help her get settled. Thanks to all who donated, either from the church or SURJ! We had lots of clothes for her to try on and she has found many outfits that she likes. We have had folx donate money to buy her makeup and high-heeled shoes, both of which she absolutely loves. We also promised her that when the pandemic is over and restrictions have been lifted, we can seek out the services of a salon for hair and nails. She is very excited for that. So far, she likes our cooking and we have dinner together every night. Thanks to Morgan Dredge’s suggestion, we found the Honduran restaurant and ordered takeout. It was delicious! Briana has also been cooking and sharing with us what she creates – it has all been RICO (delicious in Spanish). 😊
Little by little, we are learning Spanish and Briana has begun taking English classes through Zoom with Sue twice a week. One night, we helped her practice her numbers and we stayed up until 11 pm counting to 200. She was very energized and excited that she understood the patterns.
We have been thoroughly enjoying her company. Briana exudes light and positivity despite what adversity she has seen. She always has a smile on her face and love in her heart – we feel truly blessed to have her with us. Especially during these uncertain times, she has brought a hopeful perspective sprinkled with courage, and a dash of faith. We are thankful that she was released from detention when she was because shortly after, the center where she was being held had a terrible outbreak of corona virus. Our hearts break for all who are unnecessarily detained at this time with such little regard for their health and safety.