Friday, March 12, 2010

Final Push

19 applications for TPS went out today as a result of many hours of hard work. We woke up this morning to the realization that we had to somehow fit all of the information that we had collected into all the tiny boxes on every form. As we checked and second checked the forms, we quickly realized sometimes we did not have enough and sometimes the information that we did have was incorrect.

So began the race to find our clients in order to fill in the blanks. Perhaps the most notable performance was that of Timothy McCauley. Armed with nothing but a name and a photograph, he tracked down in a single afternoon a man whose contact information we had misplaced. His tenacity was evident when he sojourned to little Haiti during torrential downpour in order to find our missing client.

The moment we placed the Fedex envelopes into the mailbox was one of great achievement. All the minor inconveniences and paper-cuts melted from our minds, as we realized that we had a positive impact on so many lives. We feel so satisfied and so glad that we came on this trip. The organizers, Fred, Matt, and Allison did an excellent job and were always willing to help. The attorneys, Olga, Jonelle, and Melissa, helped us to answer complex questions about immigration and taught us as much as they could in such a short time.

We learned so much! We learned about temporary protected status, filing papers with the government, and how to communicate with clients in an appropriate manner. We learned not to give up when faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. We also learned how smashed plantains, fried pork, and fried goat taste (great). We learned some Haitian Creole words: griot means fried pork, gratis means free, and meycy means thank you. We learned that although the world can leave ones life in shambles, the human spirit is resilient, willing to start anew. We are all so thankful to have gone on this trip.

Ed. note: Atina Rizk is a first-year law student at the University of Memphis.

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