I am writing to express my concern about some statements made by Robert Macdonald as a candidate for the office of mayor of Lewiston (Nov. 29). I believe that, during Monday's mayoral debate, he implied that Lewiston’s Somali residents are content to live on welfare, with no interest of holding a job or improving themselves.
I am a retired teacher who now volunteers three mornings a week tutoring Somali residents at the Lewiston Adult Learning Center on Birch Street. The students who are in my class are just beginning their education in learning English and beginning reading skills.
They are there to learn English so that they can get a job or help their children in school, or understand what they are hearing at a doctor’s office, etc. They attend faithfully, good weather or not. Their commitment to being part of the Lewiston community is impressive. The waiting list is long.
Learning a new language is truly difficult when you are an adult. Learning English as an adult from Somalia is extremely difficult. And add to that, trying to adjust to American life after escaping the horrors of life in Somalia and refugee camps.
I take my hat off to my students for trying so hard. I feel fortunate to be part of their journey.
Judy Webber, Auburn