Friday, December 2, 2011

A Typical Day in My Service

Million MeKonnen joined the African Services Coalition’s family as an Americorps ACCESS member this September. Prior to being a case manager with ASC, Million received his Masters degree in Economics from NC State University in Raleigh. He is currently working towards obtaining his PhD from the same institution. He received his BA while living in Ethiopia, he has lived in the US for the past eight years.

A Typical Day in My Service

It was just a regular Wednesday. I got up early since I had to take one of our clients to his dental appointment in Burlington for his extraction. I had taken him to the Greensboro office for his consultation the prior day and had been told the only opening before the end of the year was Wednesday at 9:00 am. He had no other option but to take the spot, I assured him I would take him. We got there at 8:30 am and I assisted him in filling out some forms. Around 9:15 am, he got called and I interpreted the procedures with a nurse and Doctor. Then I was told to wait in the waiting room. After about twenty minutes, I was called and explained some care needed to be taken while he recovered at home. I drove him back home and went to get his prescription drugs. After I dropped off his medicine, I headed back to office to work on case notes. The day goes by like a regular day until I got a call from another client who injured his knee and I needed to take him to urgent care. I talked to my coworker, Lola, who knows medical facilities around; she suggested I take him to Moses Cone Urgent Care. She told me she would meet us a little later down there. I picked him up and got him there around 4:00 pm. After I helped him with the application, we began waiting for his turn. I found out it would take an hour and a half for his turn. In the mean time I went back to the office to finish daily paper work and then I went back after an hour and found Lola with the client. Around 5:30 pm, I got a call from UNC Emergency Hospital, and found my friend had had an accident and was in the emergency room. I had to wait for the client finish his examination. At around 6:10 pm, he finished and I dropped him at his apartment and headed straight to Chapel Hill. I got there at 7:25 and found my friend with some bruises on the face and a leg injury. Finally, after the X-ray results, around 10:45 pm, the Doctor said everything was fine and prescribed some drugs for my friend. I got the medication for my friend on the way to his house and spent the night in Durham. Early the next morning I headed back to Greensboro to start over again.

Million Mekonnen
AmeriCorps Member
NC African Services Coalition

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Did You Know......

Did you know that in East African cultures it is a gesture of hospitality to offer guests in your home food or a drink. Many East Africans will become offended if this gesture is refused.

Other displays of proper etiquette in East African countries are....

Accepting gifts and handshaking with the left hand is inappropriate.

East Africans are very private people. Trust is a major factor in communication because many East Africans will not share information with people that they do not trust.

Eye contact is not always advised. It is courteous and respectful to not hold eye contact for long periods of time.

Pointing a finger is also a sign of disrespect in most East African countries. If you must point it is best to nod your head in the direction that you want to point or use an open hand instead of a single finger.

Learn More:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Anna Sibley began her Americorps ACCESS term with the African Services Coalition in the summer of 2011. Prior to joining the ASC family Anna received her Public Health Education Masters Degree from UNCG. Originally from Raleigh, Anna has lived in Greensboro for the past two years. Anna is a case manager for the TAG program at African Services Coalition. Below she shares a story of her time with the agency:
"A story that makes me grateful to work at African Services:

I was recently able to meet a young woman from Sudan who had come to the U.S. on a visa and was then granted asylum status. Her name is Hanna. She came to the office with her older sister, Sosan, in hopes of enrolling in some social services. I found out that Hanna and Sosan had recently moved to North Carolina from Virginia and had been unable to get any benefits (food stamps, Medicaid) while in Virginia. Apparently the social services department turned Hanna away because they only provided services for refugees and not asylees.

I learned that Sosan is a physician practicing at Moses Cone Hospital and that Hanna studied civil engineering in Sudan. She is currently taking English classes and hopes to enroll at a university so that she can continue her studies. Since her sister is relatively well off, Hanna will not have to take a menial job to make ends meet and can focus entirely on school. However, any benefits she could receive would make life that much easier for her and her sister.

I was able to take Hanna and Sosan to the Greensboro Dept of Social Services. After waiting a few hours we were able to get an interview for that afternoon. The social worker got Hanna enrolled for food stamps, Medicaid, and cash assistance.

The sisters were both so gracious and appreciative and it was a true pleasure to work with them and get to know them."
Hanna and Sosan are only a few of the many that ASC assists on a daily basis. Through Anna's commitment and time a part of their burden was lightened. Please check back for more stories from our staff, interns and volunteers.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Did You Know...

Did you know that Italian is a common language in Somalia? Italy acquired a portion of Somalia as a colony in 1880 through a series of treaties with Somalis leaders. The territory was referred to as Italian Somaliland until 1936 when it became apart of Africa Orientale Italiana. During the colonization Italian was the major language. In 1941, Italy lost control of Somalia to the British.

Today, Somali is the official language of Somalia. Other common languages include Arabic and English. However, Italian is still spoken by approximately 10% of the population.

Learn More:

“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.” -Maya Angelou

              What does it take for one to “be at home”? For most, home means more than a place to sleep; home symbolizes a sanctuary free of fear and filled with the love of family and friends. So what happens when one finds themselves without a place to sleep, without that sanctuary? There are many of our fellow human beings who are left longing to be at home wherever they find themselves.
                According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 43.7 million people were displaced from their homes in 2010. They are children who have not seen the pages of a schoolbook or known the full joys of childhood. They are women whose bodies are objectified, who live in constant fear and insecurity. They are men scarred by violence that was forced into their hands. They are human beings, like you and I, longing for the security of home.
                Guilford County becomes home to an average of 500 refugees each year, according to the Center for New North Carolinians. In 2010 North Carolina African Services Coalition (NCASC) resettled over 120 refugees in Greensboro, and this number is only expected to rise in 2011. NCASC works tirelessly to ensure that these newcomers have shelter, food, clothing, and all other essentials as they make Greensboro home and become self sufficient. These individuals and families have endured much to find themselves here in our community and every day is a constant journey to find home.
 This blog has been established to share the many trials and triumphs of our new community members as they work to make a home in the unfamiliar. N.C. African Services Coalition hopes that through sharing these stories the Greensboro community will open our home to those who have lost theirs.