Keeping busy

I've been tutoring a Somali refugee.
He's been in Pittsburgh four years. His spoken English is pretty
good, but he wanted help with reading. He's taking classes at a
community college, both ESL and preparation for the citizenship exam.
We have been going over a printout (from a Powerpoint) of 100
questions that might be on the exam, such things as “What are the
three branches of government?” “Who do we pledge allegiance to?”
Evidently they repeat these in class without explaining the meaning.
So we read, repeat, and I explain. I still remember the pledge of
allegiance, which irritates me. I'm sure my brain could be put to
better use. I am loyal to this country, but to a flag? That's just
nonsense.

I found a mistake in one of the
answers. “Name one of the states that borders on Canada.” They
included Pennsylvania. Unless we've ceded all of Lake Erie to Canada
there is no way PA borders it. New York is in the way. There may be
other mistakes. Some of the answers are fairly obscure, such as,
which amendment to the Constitution does what. I don't want to make a
research project out of this, that's the government's job.

This Somali family lives in an
apartment they have decorated by hanging fabrics and rugs on the
walls and fabrics from the ceilings. It's quite marvelous. Last week
when I went there everything had been removed, and it looked pretty
bad. They are preparing to move. I think they will be in a new place
when I return next week. I hope it will look as good. Maybe I can ask
to take pictures.

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