Before coming up to camp, one of the staff for the camp, Bijay took his citizenship exam. He wanted to have a large celebration as he became an American but was unable to do so because of Covid restrictions.
As we were at camp, the manager had to return down the mountain so Dr. Diane Davis had to pull from her girl scout training and teach others how to respectfully lower and fold the US flag.
The First Time
Bijay jumped at the opportunity to learn how to properly handle the American flag, his flag. As he was folding it with his younger brother, he commented to Dr. Davis that this was the first time he had ever held a national flag in his hands.
And it is his flag now.
Bijay and his family was kicked out of Bhutan by a nationalist government 30 years ago. Everyone who spoke Nepali, was not Buddhist, or didn’t look Bhutanese was kicked out of the country. Nepal did not want to welcome people who were not citizens and so hundreds of thousands of people were put in refugee camps for 20 years.
About 10 years ago, several nations including the United States agreed to bring the people from the camps to our own countries. Aletheia staff and faculty were able to help many of the newly arrived refugees find food, learn to navigate American culture, and become productive citizens of their new home country.
And now, 10 years later, we were able to be there when Bijay voluntarily became a member of the United States of America and learned how to care for his countries flag.
This is one of the joys of voluntary union and one of the joys of multi-cultural ministry.