POST Magazine, Rochester, NY Fall 2017
By Carlie Fishgold
Photography by Arleen Thaler
A Day In The Life At Mary’s Place
People gather at the Lexington Avenue entrance of Mary’s Place, waiting for Executive Director Charlsey Bickett to open the doors. The scene repeats daily Monday through Friday afternoons beneath the building’s distinct Mudéjar rose window, where the front steps are a pastiche of nationalities including Bhutanese, Burmese, Nepali, Somali, Sudanese, Congolese, Cuban, Iranian, and Syrian—mainly immigrant groups settling in the Edgerton, Maplewood, and Driving Park neighborhoods of northwest Rochester. Soft smiles demure, prideful glances are exchanged, and laughter as nervous as it is genuine eases language barriers, though cultural enclaves appear to form as more people arrive. Everyone here can relate to each other in that they arrived in Rochester for similar reasons and they are waiting for the same bouquet of resources…
Hani Ali doesn’t know where she was born except that it was in the back of a pickup truck,
somewhere between Somalia and Uganda. An elderly woman—a stranger—traveling with them delivered Ali as her parents were fleeing a civil war in their country. Even so, her parents named her Hani, which in Arabic means “happy.” “Nobody thought I was going to live. But there I was, everyday,” says Ali, now 25 and a Rochesterian..