Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!
This month a group of Afghan women from our Women’s Wellness program took an outing to the Sacramento Zoo for a day of wild animals, bonding, and fun. The trip was a special treat for the group and a chance to get out into the greater Sacramento community and explore some of the fun things that their new home city has to offer. Life as a new immigrant can be filled with lots of strict schedules--doctor’s appointments, working toward citizenship, appointments, navigating new systems, and did we mention appointments? It can be hard for our clients to find the time to play and relax. Visiting the Sacramento Zoo was an awesome way to introduce the ladies of this group to one of the interesting, entertaining things Sacramento has to offer!
Going to the Zoo was the unanimous vote by all of the women in the group when offered options of a few different activities in the area. The Sacramento Zoo was kind enough to donate tickets--and not just any tickets! The ladies were given a special pass to go and feed the giraffes in a cool, up-close-encounter that everyone loved. All of the women were excited about the chance to “see wild animals,” as going to a zoo is not something they had the opportunity to do in their home country. It was a great experience getting to show them something to love about their new home.
In addition to the giraffes, some of the other highlights of the trip were the lions, the flamingos, and the chimpanzees. The only disappointment of the day was the Red Panda--a google search will show you what the group learned in person, that the Red Panda doesn’t look like a regular Panda at all! But the rest of the animals more than made up for that, and everyone got to chat about their favorites over a picnic lunch in the afternoon. One favorite that everyone shared wasn’t one that a native Californian would probably have taken much notice of--a certain bird with blue colored plumage caught everyone’s eye because the hue reminded them all of a specific color frequently used in Afghan textiles, reminding them all of home.
Overall the day was a wonderful experience for everyone who participated. The women all agreed they would love to bring their families back for another visit, so that they could share the fun experience. For the IRC in Sacramento, leaving them each with a deeper connection and affection for their new home was the best success we could have asked for!