Monday, September 28, 2009

The Immigrant Experience: Liberians in America, Part II

"We do help each other. Like me, I open up my home to people who do not have food. I shelter people. That is what I have been doing since I came here. I not only preach the word. And it's very important. It's good for the soul. You feel better when you do that." -- Beatrice Mansfield, Liberian Pastor.

This second installment of my series looks at how Liberians in Rhode Island assist the elderly within their community and help new arrivals adapt and survive.

Despite ethnic divisions in their own country, Liberians in the United States come together through their churches, civic associations and other organizations to make sure those in need get help.

Elderly Liberians who might have enjoyed frequent contact with their neighbors back in Monrovia’s open-aired courtyards now find themselves isolated in the closed-off, high-rise apartment buildings that house many of the newly-arrived in America.

Many Liberian youth who finally make it to the United States don't always know what they have gotten themselves into.

Sometimes, Liberian immigrants don't have any relatives here, but they find they can count on other Liberians to help them get going on their American experience.