Meet Bishnu Rai!
I place a call to our resident spotlight, Bishnu Rai, and she promptly answers. After reintroducing myself and getting settled in, we jump right into getting to know Bishnu!
“Where are you from, originally?” I ask, my go-to first question.
“Originally, we are from Bhutan. We fled to Nepal during the civil war. I lived there with my parents for over 20 years until moving out to the US in 2012.”
“What landed you in Colorado?” I asked.
“I came out here with my husband and, at that time, we had one child. My husband had a cousin who lived out here, so we decided to come here to be close to them. Now we have another toddler, my oldest is 8 years old.”
Bishnu was so pleasant to speak with. Though English is her second language and there was some trouble between us understanding each other, she was so patient and persistent in getting her thoughts out. I asked if they have lived at Greenleaf the whole time they’ve been in the United States.
“Yes, we’ve been at Greenleaf since 2012.”
“Wow, that’s a long time! What are your favorite things about Greenleaf? I imagine you guys like where you’re living, to have stayed there for so long!”
“One unique thing about Greenleaf is that there are people from many different countries here. Each year we get the chance to celebrate our culture, we’ll have events where we can bring native food. It’s really fun!
“But one of my favorite parts of living here is the resources and services. I have friends that don’t live at Greenleaf and there isn’t nearly the assistance where they live. Not only is there kid’s club and different things for our kids to do, but there’s a lot of educational resources for adults, like ESL classes and citizenship classes.”
“Have you benefited from the services there, do you partake in many of the events?” I asked, wondering if she had a favorite.
“We go to the food banks here often, that has always been a big help. But recently Maggie has helped me get started with GED classes, that’s been the one I’m currently involved in. It’s such an incredible thing to have the ability to earn my GED simply through the service of where I live.”
You can tell Bishnu has a grateful heart and persistent spirit. When I asked her some of the things she’s learned from her life experiences she told me that everyone is going to face events that are hard. As a refugee, learning a new language and getting her GED while raising a family, she can attest to that fact.
“But there is always a way to get through. You find a way, and it makes you appreciate the good times and makes you stronger. Most recently, we experienced a lot of financial hardship with the pandemic. We were so grateful that Maggie helped us get set up for financial assistance and that there were more food banks. Those were things we couldn’t do ourselves but helped us get through.”
“What are some things you like to do that help you step away and relax? Any hobbies?” I asked.
“I really like to cook for my family and I like to write. Mostly I just write assignments for my classes, but I like the practice because I get excited when I really get something, or improve in some way.”
We speak briefly on different writing prompts, I too love to write. As we close out the conversation I thank her for her time, and she responds “of course” as if that’s a silly thing to say. Another insight to her generous and giving heart.