Just after I walked into the hospital, I came face to face with a friend and former student, Hayat. He is now completing a combined Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant program, and was there to assist with some neurosurgery. He was very happy to see me and gave me a big hug. I was happy to see him too.
Although I haven't seen him in over a year, he has been on my mind. I wrote about him on my Facebook page a few weeks ago when the travel ban executive order (now on hold thanks to the courts) was implemented. Hayat was a neurosurgeon in Afghanistan before the war, and during the war he was an interpreter for the US military. He had to flee the country, and came here as a refugee. He had to leave his family behind. He went to nursing school so that he could have the means to bring his family here. He was one of those students for whom school wasn't just something to do--it was an imperative. There is a story about how I came to understand what it meant to him, but it must remain between him and me. I will tell you, though, that it had a profound impact on how I approach teaching. He is one of a handful of students I will never forget.
Anyway, we have kind of kept in touch, but it was a wonderful surprise to see him today. He told me a bit about where he is at in his program. He talked about what it was like to be back in the operating room--a feeling of coming full circle, and being where he was supposed to be. He brings so many gifts. What a shame and a loss it would be if we didn't let him in to this country. That's where I fall in this debate.
I ended up with four hugs by the time we parted.