After my initial meeting with the Al Nuami family, in locating a temporary home for them, I was able to locate a more permanent home within the same complex, for a one year rental agreement. I visited with them (and our translator Dana) at their home, in order to sign and complete leasing documents. I scheduled the appointment at their home, as I know they have no means of travel other than public transportation. In addition, Mohammad has a degenerative blindness condition, that he was born with. His eyesight in incredibly limited and will be gone completely within the next several years. Saja, his wife, is very patient, kind and catering to his needs. I wanted to accommodate their situation and visit them at home. While I was visiting with them, I took the opportunity to ask Mohammad and Saja if they would be willing to be my subjects for this post. Dana translated and we had a long discussion of what this entailed. Prior to this meeting, I made a list of subjects-people-lifestyles that I want to cover and who's stories I want to share. On this list was, a day in the life of a refugee and the day in the life of a blind man. Considering their stories, I was encouraged to ask them. They agreed to the post and were very excited to help me with my project. Here is their story...
They stated, "It was so scary. For the sake of us and our family, we left."
They left Iraq and their home, inherited from Mohammad's father, with only back packs of personal belongings and "basic items". They stated that they keep in touch with a neighbor who checks on the home for them.
Mohammad stated, "In Turkey, there was no help from the U.N.. Everything, we had to take care of."
In their time in Turkey, Mohammad and Saja decided that they wanted to move to the U.S.. "We wanted to move here and start a new life. We didn't want history repeating itself for our daughters."
Mohammad further states, "We came to America, also, because we know we would have access to special education for her, so she wouldn't suffer."
"We have been through a lot. But, our main goal was to get them education. We see how they take care of her, it makes us so happy for the time and effort and care they give her. We are so thankful for the special education."
"Yesterday, there was a meeting at school, of all people from school and they all got together for the sake of my daughter. They all had reports of her performance and they discussed how they could provide a special class for her. There was no such thing as these efforts in Iraq for someone who has special needs like her."
Mohammad feels people are "understanding here" versus "back in Iraq." He was ridiculed and made fun of for his disability. He discussed the school in Waynesboro for the deaf and blind and his plans to enroll.
It was my honor to meet Mohammad, Saja and their daughters. I am also thankful for our translator and my friend, Dana for his help translating!
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Thank you for reading!
In light, Danielle