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An Afghan refugee and her family have been rebuilding their lives in the Ozarks for 3 years

Fereshte and her family enjoy spending time at Phelps Grove park. Photo by Meghan McKinney/KSMU

KSMU's Meghan McKinney interviewed Fereshte about her time in Springfield and what she hopes for her future.

Sara Bajalan served as interpreter for the interview with Fereshte.

"My name is Fereshte. I am from Afghanistan."

Fereshte is 28-years-old, is married and has five kids, with the oldest being eight-years-old. They have been living in Springfield for the last three years as refugees after being forced to leave Afghanistan.

What do you remember, maybe in a positive light, about your home country?

"Our life was easy and simple. We had a very comfortable spacious home. We were happy. Life became harder after the Taliban came onto the scene."

What are some positive moments you’ve had since being resettled here in Springfield?

"One of the most positive, I think, was when first arrived here. We lived with one of our sponsors, and she helped us for the first month. They found a home for us and helped us acclimate. Another one of our sponsors has been very helpful, whether it's something small I need or whether it's throwing a birthday party for my daughter. I've been happy and grateful to have their support."

Have there been any challenges in the last three years, or maybe something that you're experiencing right now, with adjusting to the new culture?

"Yeah. The most overwhelming aspect of adjusting to life here isn’t necessarily the culturally differences, but rather just the simple fact that I don't understand anyone, and I can't speak their language to help them understand me."

I'm curious how that makes you feel on a more individual scale.

"I find it very frustrating to say the least, and I get really upset at myself for not being able to understand what's going on around me."

What do you want your future to look like here in the next couple of years?

"I'd like to see in my future, maybe the next three to five years for my family and I to move into a newer home. I'd like to be able to have nicer things to decorate my home with, because I do like to present a very comfortable home for my family and for my friends visiting. I'd like to have a new car."

Do you still keep in touch with your family back home in Afghanistan?

"Yes. We speak daily. We speak on the phone often."

I could imagine it would be nice to talk to your family everyday, but also to know that they aren’t here with you—that has to be hard.

"Of course, it's difficult. I speak with my siblings. I have five brothers, four of who are married. The one that isn’t and is single would very much like to come to America. I also have sisters. The younger is just recently married and is saying she would like to also come, and it’s difficult. Unfortunately, my hands are tied and I can't do anything for them to make that a reality."

What have you learned about yourself since resettling here?

"Since I've been here, I've had two children, and the process of raising them have kept me busy. But, if there is something that I've learned about myself is that I can be very brave or I felt very brave when I drove independently for the first time the other day. I went somewhere on my own and that makes me feel very proud to be able to drive if I need to go somewhere."

Fereshte says she will continue to focus on improving her English skills. She enjoys living here and wants to start working after her children are older. With the help of Sara Bajalan interpreting, I was able to tell Fereshte’s story.

Meghan McKinney is an undergraduate journalism student at Missouri State University. She works as a news reporter and announcer for KSMU. Her passions, other than journalism, are psychology, music, sign languages and dancing. She also runs a local music page on Facebook called "SGF Playlist."