I don't know where to start.

I met Nargis a few days after a blizzard passed through Oklahoma. There were still several inches of snow on the ground, and she was trudging through it with her daughter in her arms on the first night I'd ventured out after necessities like milk and bread. I pulled into my driveway just before she crossed it, hopped out and offered her a ride as I only had Magnolia with me. She kindly declined. I was unaware of her limited English. I think I was scaring her. She didn't know that was my driveway. I just popped out of my car and started showing her my extra car seat, and motioning toward my house saying I lived there.

A few days later, she was crossing my driveway again when I was leaving. This time we talked a little while, the best we could, and I told her she could stop by any time and we could practice her English. She took me up on it. She and Adibah (her 18-month-old daughter) were pretty regular visitors at my house. She recently got a job at the little convenient store down the road so the stops have been less frequent. She was supposed to stop by on Monday at 2:00 PM. She didn't come by, so I just assumed she had an extra shift.

Salim, her husband, came to our house at 8:30 this evening. He was timidly holding out a note that Nargis had written:

Dear Breana,
How are you? I am not well. Now I am addmitted in to madical center for two days. I lose you phone number. Can you help me?


My honest to goodness first thought after I finished reading it, was "not bad for two months of English immersion." Really, my first thought came in the middle of reading it. My heart sank. Even more so when Jake called to make sure she was at OU. They said she was in oncology.

We drove Salim to the hospital. Cora was with Vaughn and Tracey, so we had room. We got there, and her doctor just happened to come check on her a few minutes after we got there so he was able to explain what was going on. Luckily, it was not cancer. Phew. My heart started rising up from my toes. She'd been in the hospital because of abdominal pain, and today they realized it was a horribly placed uterine polyp. She had surgery this evening, and is recovering well now. She should be released Thursday or Friday.

That leads me to a whole new chapter: They moved into an apartment on Saturday. They have nothing. Not a thing. I was talking about this at church on Sunday, and already someone has offered a bed. I'm hoping we can get it to her apartment before she comes home so she'll have a comfortable place to recover. I found out tonight that they don't have electricity yet either because they don't have the connection fee. I asked how much they make, and this is where I got a little upset. Salim makes 600/month for 15 hour days. That's right, I said 600/month. And Nargis gets 400/month for 7-8 hour days. They are putting in some serious hours. One of my friends gave me a list of free English classes they could take, but they're all during their work, or they get out when the buses have stopped running. Nargis has asked me to help her find work. I'm not sure where to start on that avenue either, but I know there has to be something that will allow them to bring home more for the hours they put in.

I suppose this post is a plea going forth into the universe on behalf of this little family trying to make their way in America. They're trying their hardest to make it work, but they need help right now, especially on the job front. I don't want Nargis to feel like she has bad luck anymore. If you know of any way they can improve their English or get better jobs or anything that we don't even think about that makes our world go round, can you share?

I know that Nargis and I crossed paths for a reason, and I'm thankful for it. It's teaching me about burdens, about coming out of myself to be available to someone (I'm a serious recluse when it comes to being a guardian of my time and home space - I've never liked it when people need me too much, and I've never liked that about myself.) Jake and I were looking at houses today (and have been for a few days), and it's hard to justify our impatience that the perfect house isn't out there in the short amount of time we've been looking when all around us are these stories that we are unaware of. In a few short minutes, I'm going to go crash in my ridiculously comfy pillow top bed, with my pillow, and my sheets, and blankets - and that's just a small part of the things I take for granted.

This is a sweet family, and I look forward to the day when Nargis and I can sit down and have conversations uninterrupted by language barriers.


  1. This story breaks my heart! I can't believe they work so many hours with such little return. I hope someone is not taking advantage of them.

    I sure wish I could help figure out a solution, wish I lived closer. The church is such a great resource. Have you ever looked into a DI? Not sure if you have one close. Also maybe talk to your Employment specialist in your ward.

    A couple years back we had a family move into our ward from HI with absolutely nothing. I was in charge of our service group and it was amazing to see so many people come to their aid! Before you knew it they had a house full of furnishings and all the necessities!

    One of the best experiences of my life, being in charge of that group!! :)

    I will keep this little family in prayers, BrieAnn.

  2. Wow! This really upsets me...

    Here are some things to check into...some might seem random, but I'm trying to think of things with good hours and something that wouldn't create a stressful language barrier. Emersion is cool and all, but starting a new job is stressful enough...but adding that on top would be a nightmare!

    1. The Buckle. (Can she sew? They have a backroom where customers can get their alterations done for free. It would be a good wage and she would have her own space...and also might allow her to get better at it and do some side-jobs for people in the neighborhood)

    2. Craigslist. (beds/sheets/pillows/towels) If you let me know what they need I would be more than happy to get some things and ship them down.

    3. Meemaw. (the center she works at once a week...let her know sizes and she will be ON know it's true)

    4. Universities. (I just checked and found some jobs at OU HSC she could do - the one I found was custodial but it was $9/hr...also a 12AM-9AM shift...but I'm sure that has some sort of benefits associated with it...and I know that the bus system goes out to HSC)

    Just let me know if I can do anything. I can ship stuff to you and you can get it to them.

    They're very brave doing what they're doing.

  3. I have a couch that I won't be taking with me after I graduate, they are welcome to have it if they still need one after april 15th. It's quite comfortable.



Powered by Blogger.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Back to Top