A Feel Good Story
Posted by Linda Klein
Posted on November 7, 2016
Ashraf and Sayed Assad Hatami (6th and 7th from the left) are immigrants from Afghanistan who arrived in Sacramento three months ago through the Diversity Visa Lottery.
Ashraf, 22, was in medical school in Afghanistan, and his father worked for an NGO that helped the US government. After being hooded, kidnapped and left in a cave once by the Taliban, Hatami felt his family wasn’t safe there and applied for the Diversity Visa Lottery. However, since they didn’t qualify for refugee status to receive help from organizations such as the International Rescue Committee (IRC), they arrived here with nothing.
They picked Sacramento after Ashraf did a Google search of nice places to live in the USA and also because they couldn’t afford LA where their plane landed. So, they got on a bus and arrived without a place to stay. They searched Sacramento by bus and on foot and found an apartment. Next, Ashraf read on Facebook that the Unitarian Universalist Society of Sacramento was a friendly place that might help him, so he rode a bus for three hours from South Sacramento to arrive at the church and talk to the minister.
Many in the church offered to help which led to Linda Klein, a church member and resident of Rancho Murieta, telling Sally Davis, of Rancho Murieta, that the Mansurs’ were in need of furniture. Sally sent out an email and told her friends as did Linda. Lynn Baugher, of Rancho Murieta, heard of the search and subsequently contacted the mother of Ellen Moe. The result was that Ellen and Bill Moe, of Rancho Murieta, offered some furniture they weren’t using and friends of Linda’s and Dave Thomas’, Julie Jackson, of Rancho Murieta, offered her truck, and Woody and Dee Poynter, of Sloughhouse, also offered some of their furniture as well as Woody’s spacious and beautiful trailer.
The result is that the Mansurs’ now have an apartment full of furniture and other things that they needed. It was a community effort, and the Mansurs’ are grateful to the generosity of our community. Ashraf is presently an Uber driver but has applied to UC Davis Medical Center to work as a translator since he has a medical background and speaks five languages fluently, including English quite well. His parents are starting English classes this month, and Ashraf plans to continue his pursuit of a medical career once they are settled and he has the residency to attend college here.