The wind is powerful. 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 far-off, lands torn by spiritual fundamentalism and wars.

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

It’s one such want that led a younger Afghan to experience the winds of change. Navid Hamidi, the government 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 numerous 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 internet 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 could 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 front room for the subsequent three months, whereas his case was being processed by the resettlement company. Asylum seekers like Navid rise 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 kinds 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 basically 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 provide to be part of a fishing boat, Navid discovered himself being supplied 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 needed 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 handbook labor. Nevertheless, his case employee had a unique concern, as Navid recounted: “He was telling me that it isn’t 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 along with your brother, how will you pay on your meals?”

Regardless of the practicality of the case employee’s considerations, Navid needed to fulfill his function 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 offered the basic conundrum between the pragmatism of case numbers and the imprecise 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 new arrivals. Nevertheless, as Navid famous, additionally it is 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 desires, is tech-savvy. Resettlement businesses can’t apply the identical rules of the previous mannequin, the place the focus is principally to assist refugees get a job… this might destroy someone’s future as a result of if individuals gave these refugees the choice of instructional empowerment…like hey…this nation offers you not solely paychecks, however there’s extra, that may be useful because it’d open many doorways.”

Consistent with his aspirations, Navid determined to refuse the employment alternatives supplied by the resettlement system. He needed to notice his desires of training, and opted for a visit to Inexperienced River Faculty along with his case employee. This opened up the doorways to a unique life for him, as he later went on to examine public well being at the College of Washington and set up his personal non-profit group.

Right now, Navid takes a leaf out of his personal life to educate younger Afghan arrivals the significance of training. He believes that the youth want function fashions to encourage them, and their households want to be told of doable instructional pathways for his or her youngsters.

Dr. Jayendrina Singha Ray serves as School 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 faculties in India.

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