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Immigrants share stories of coming to America at Being Human event

The Heart of Steamboat Methodist Church is hosting the third part of its five-part “Being Human” series on Saturday. The free event will focus on the journey of immigrants.
Derek Maiolo

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs’ newest American citizen will be joining six other immigrants Saturday to share stories of tragedy, hope, joy and pain on their journeys to America.

“The storytellers are amazing, and it’s going to be beautiful,” said Roddy Beall, organizer of the “Being Human: The Journey of Immigrants” event.

The storytelling session and dinner, which will take place from 4 to 6 p.m., is part three of the five-part “Being Human: A Series on Inclusivity,” sponsored by the Heart of Steamboat United Methodist Church. A community dinner will follow the storytelling.

African immigrant Moussa Ouattara, who earned his U.S. citizenship this week, will tell his story of being a businessman caught up in a violent political struggle in the Ivory Coast.

Then there’s the “90-Day Fiancee” story — as Beall likes to call it — a charming tale about a Steamboat man who went to Ukraine to court his online girlfriend and bring her back as his wife.

“Be prepared to laugh because Victoria’s (Temeshenko) story is raucously funny and absolutely glorious,” Beall said.

Then there’s the Colombian immigrant who went looking for a camera to take pictures of the snow and ended up finding love at the camera store.

If you go

What: “Being Human: The Journey of Immigrants”
When: 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25
Where: Heart of Steamboat United Methodist Church, 736 Oak St.
Cost: Free and open to the community

There will be seven immigrants from seven different countries speaking. Most of the stories will be in English with headphones for translations into Spanish and French. French and Spanish speakers will also have their stories translated through headphones in English.

Beall, an immigration expert with the nonprofit Integrated Community, said he wanted the true stories to accomplish two goals.

“First, to educate nonimmigrants about the true lived experience of immigrants — to put real faces and voices to the often overgeneralized theme,” Beall explained. “Second, to create a loving space to accept and validate all immigrant community members.”

Save the dates

The last two sessions of the Being Human series sponsored by Heart of Steamboat United Methodist Church:

• “Being Human with Those Struggling Economically”: April 28

• “Being Human with Those Struggling with Addiction and Mental Health”: September (date TBD)

Beall said the speakers are offering their personal stories as a “light to guide others.”

“Children will hear them and be inspired,” Beall said. “Adults will hear them and be humbled.”

Frances Hohl is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.


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