The wind is robust. It carries the coloured leaves of fall to our doorsteps — leaves that bear the first creases of winter on the edges. The wind additionally brings us damaged individuals from lands distant, lands torn by non secular fundamentalism and wars.

These are individuals touched by the icy fingertips of battle that cull the life out of its personal individuals. However needs are unusual longings that maintain life — the need for survival, for security, and the need to additional life.

It’s one such need that led a younger Afghan to experience the winds of change. Navid Hamidi, the govt director of Afghan Well being Initiative, selected to fly away from the shifting regimes and political uncertainties of Afghanistan to the shores of liberation in 2014. Having labored in several branches of the U.S. army in Afghanistan for seven years, Navid utilized for an SIV (Particular Immigrant Visa) in 2012. The visa ensured his passage to the United States in 2014.

It was the onset of winter in Seattle, and the gray desolation of the skies outdoors the airport had been very totally different from Navid’s conception of Washington. The state had appeared greener and extra cheerful in his net searches again in Afghanistan. However right here, on his first day, stood a brand new house that mimicked the gray confusions of his thoughts. A contemporary starting may be very disconcerting, and Navid’s was no much less — from navigating a brand new tradition to the intricacies of every day life.

On his first evening, a Vietnamese gentleman from the IRC (Worldwide Rescue Committee) picked him up from the airport, and dropped him off close to Navid’s brother’s house in Kent. His brother had relocated to the U.S. a month earlier than him and had moved right into a one-bedroom house. Navid was to sleep in his lounge for the subsequent three months, whereas his case was being processed by the resettlement company. Asylum seekers like Navid stand up to 90 days of monetary help from the authorities. It’s throughout this era that case staff, representing resettlement businesses, assist new arrivals discover housing, employment and different types of help.

Throughout the first three months in the U.S., Navid was assigned a case employee who was to assist him discover employment inside the 90-day interval. Whereas the intention to discover him employment was noble, Navid discovered this expertise harrowing.

In our interview, Navid acknowledged, “the case employee was simply giving me choices that actually scared me… like hey, you need to go to Alaska and work in a fishing boat for six months? Getting me a job was the first precedence for him in order that they may shut my case and transfer on to the others.” Following the supply to be a part of a fishing boat, Navid discovered himself being provided a minimum-wage job at a farm in Kent with an hourly wage of $9 to $10. These alternatives distressed him, owing to his disinterest in farming or fishery. He wished to work in an workplace or go to faculty as a result of he believed his familiarity with computer systems and the English language, throughout his military-service years in Afghanistan, had ready him for greater than guide labor. Nevertheless, his case employee had a special concern, as Navid recounted: “He was telling me that it’s not for you. You’re an immigrant, you’re right here. You want to be sure you can afford residing someplace. How lengthy would you like to keep together with your brother, how will you pay in your meals?”

Regardless of the practicality of the case employee’s considerations, Navid wished to fulfill his objective of discovering a greater life in the U.S. by pursuing a school diploma.

Whereas talking to Navid, and later to a DSHS member, about the resettlement course of, I spotted how this conflict of the case employee’s worldview and that of Navid’s introduced the basic conundrum between the pragmatism of case numbers and the obscure actuality of human aspirations.

On the one hand, there are an enormous quantity of circumstances that resettlement businesses have to attend to inside a stipulated time interval. On the different hand, now we have asylum seekers like Navid who really feel pressured into discovering jobs that don’t resonate with their pursuits. Resettlement businesses put in laudable efforts into discovering housing and employment, amongst many different providers, for brand spanking new arrivals. Nevertheless, as Navid famous, it’s also essential to ask if the system of resettling individuals wants revision in the wake of a brand new technology of asylum seekers.

In Navid’s phrases: “The system is constructed for generations 40 years in the past. This technology has goals, is tech-savvy. Resettlement businesses can not apply the similar rules of the previous mannequin, the place the focus is especially to assist refugees get a job… this might destroy anyone’s future as a result of if individuals gave these refugees the possibility of academic empowerment…like hey…this nation provides you not solely paychecks, however there’s extra, that might be useful because it’d open many doorways.”

In step with his aspirations, Navid determined to refuse the employment alternatives provided by the resettlement system. He wished to understand his goals of training, and opted for a visit to Inexperienced River Faculty together with his case employee. This opened up the doorways to a special life for him, as he later went on to research public well being at the College of Washington and set up his personal non-profit group.

Right this moment, Navid takes a leaf out of his personal life to train younger Afghan arrivals the significance of training. He believes that the youth want position fashions to encourage them, and their households want to learn of potential academic pathways for his or her youngsters.

Dr. Jayendrina Singha Ray serves as College of English at Highline Faculty. Her analysis pursuits embrace postcolonial research, spatial literary research, British literature, and rhetoric and composition. Prior to educating in the U.S., she labored as an editor with Routledge and taught English at schools in India.


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