To say I enjoyed hosting Imed Ouertani would be an understatement. Imed is the President of the Tunisian Organization of Defence of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a young organization that is similar in philosophy to Access Living.
Ours was a great match. We shared a lot of information about nonprofits and NGOs, advocacy, fundraising, and staffing.
But we did more than share information. We became friends. It was easy to do, since Imed’s enthusiasm for going places, meeting people, and learning new things is contagious.
When we weren’t going to meetings with clients or other service providers, we explored Chicago. We went to the zoo, the aquarium, and even the beach. We spent an evening at my house, where Imed and my husband played chess and we grilled Halal meat we purchased together at an Albany Park grocer. Imed was surely disappointed with my pronunciation of Halal, but we laughed a lot as he tried to get me to pronounce the ‘h’ just right.
We also spent time with other fellows, both at meetings and more informal events. Some of the hosts teamed up to provide more exposure to different organizations. Getting to know some of the other hosts was great and will have a positive impact on the work I do at Access Living.
I had no idea what to expect when I said yes to hosting a fellow, but I’m so glad I did.
— Patti Werner, Fellowship Host at Access Living