This week, Our Southern Souls is telling the stories of refugees who escaped war and persecution around the world to have a safer life in Mobile. Dwell Mobile works with these refugees to make their transition a little easier.
“I am from Basra, Iraq. Living there was difficult because of war. There were gunshots next to the house and bombs in the streets. The war was all around us and there was no safety. My husband’s brother died in war. There wasn’t a lot of work. People tried to get jobs day by day to feed their family. Vendors sold food in the streets. They quit selling things in areas that were dangerous so you had to go farther away to buy what you need. I walked my kids to school and walked them back from school and I was afraid the whole time they weren’t next to me. During the war there were times when they couldn’t go to school. We sold our home and bought plane tickets to leave Iraq. My husband went first to Turkey and then to Greece, France and Belgium to find a place where our family would be safe. He was gone for two months. I was living with my mother because we sold the house and waited day by day to get out. My husband was in Belgium and the government told him that if he didn’t come back to Iraq, they would go after him. He came back and they were watching us more because he had gotten out. A year later, my husband got out of Iraq and went to Jordan. After the war, we got out and met him at a refugee camp in Jordan. He had heart surgery while we were there. We were in the camp for eight months before we came to Mobile. We had to take a test and passed. Other countries would do similar things letting in refugees. We feel safe here. There is work and money. We felt safe when we landed at the airport in America. We could only bring a few clothes. My mother and some of my siblings are still in Iraq. It was difficult leaving them. At least it is safer than wartime there. I haven’t seen them in five years and want to go back and visit. Sisters I haven’t seen for 14 years are living here now. There was no texting, phones or calling during the war. Iraq was safer when Sadam Hussein was there. More people left than didn’t leave. Right now they only get electricity for two hours a day. There is not much of an electrical system there.
They gave us a place to live when we moved here. People have been kind to us. I don’t have medical insurance. I wish we had that, but my kids have CHIP insurance. As long as my children are okay, I am okay. My kids want to be a doctor, a pilot, and a teacher. My dreams are their dreams and in America their dreams can come true. I want to get my citizenship and speak better English.”