Ahmed and Rashira

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Ahmed and Rashira

Post  thanatos on Mon Sep 06, 2010 4:54 pm

while I work I always carry water with me to give out when I see the need. I don't stop and mask up or anything, I just pull over and give out the water and sometimes talk to the people I meet. I've met a few people this way and the stories I hear from them just makes you wish you culd do more for people like them.
I met Ahmed and his wife, Rashira this way. it was on August the 14th that I came across them on King George Hwy in Surrey. I'll explain about why the date is important later. it was a very hot day with the temperature up in the 40's. (high 90's plus to those who are non-metric) it's commen to see people on the street with signs and doing the squegee thing. this couple had a small table set up, no shade, and appeared to be selling something. they had a couple of suitcases and a back pack behind them on the ground and did'nt look like they were handling the heat very well.
I pulled over and offered them some water. they were very greatfull and while making sure that the lady got enough water we talked and I heard their story.

He was from Iraq origanlly and she was from Iran. they met in college and got married and he took his first assistant engeneering job overseas in Kandahar, Pakistan. now you know how things are over there so I wont go into it except to say they were in a bad place with no one to turn to. finally they got in contact with the Canadian forces and then the embassy. he was a skilled technical engeneer of some kind. she was a computer managment tech.
they were promised that they could come to Canada and they would be given good jobs as they were educated and skilled. so, it took two years but they arrived in Edmonton early this year.

first they found that all their certification didnt mean anything here in this country. they were not considered skilled tech people because of this. then they could not get social assisatnce as they were refugees and their status would take a couple of years to establish. they are good people but very afraid after some of the things they saw in Pakistan. they were even afraid to approach any of the local Islamic communities or mosque. let's just put this down to things are really messed up over there.
they ended up on the street and made their way out here to Vancouver. they experienced downtown and it's share of horrors. they ended up in Surrey. sleeping where they could and panhandling. they used some of their money to buy internet time at a cafe to try and keep in touch with some relatives in Iraq.
the family in Iraq shipped them a huge bunch of Kaffeya's to try and sell. (the headscarves that men wear)

during the course of my work I come into contact with different groups and organizations and churches and the like. I talked to Ahmed and his wife about a local organization that could help them out and would'nt make anything of where they came from or what nationality they were. it wouldnt care if they were Zuni or Shia. I gave them the number and I also called and spoke to somebody about them. they made a quick appointment for the next morning.

needless to say they were very glad I happened along like I did. they thanked me for helping them find their way and the simple act of giving them water.
in gratitude they gave me a kaffeya. it's green and white. I used to have one before when I first came to Canada. a souvenir of the mid-east. I thanked them and drapped it around my neck.
"you wear good, " he said. "especial for today" I just put that down to his speach and english. it was later that I found out some interesting stuff about how they happened to be selling Arab headscarves in Surrey on that day.

it all seems to have come to a head when Dunkin Donuts ran a add with Rachel Raye in it. she was standing there holding donuts and wearing a black and white kaffeya. OH NO! somebody took this to mean that our beloved donut chain supported terrorist. yeah. so they pulled the ad.
now it seems that these things are quite the upcoming fashion trend. seems that people have decided to take the power from the symbol and just wear them cause their cool and useful. sounds good to me. taking away a message of hate and turning the object in question into something harmless.
anyways, some girl about 14 or 15 got upset with people seeing symbols in something so benign as a scafe. so she started a facebook campain to 'wear your kaffeya with pride day'. the date for this was to be Aug 14, 2010.

so now I know why they were out there that particular day. I made some friends and helped get them off the street and started on a new life here. I llearned about people in general and what one person can do if they try.

and I got a cool fashion item.

not bad for just giving out water...

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