We sat down with Abdul and Tasneem* a newly-wed couple from Afghanistan. They shared with us about their story of coming to America, how their love came to be, and all in between. We invite you to grab a cup of tea (or coffee!) and join us in reading their story.
“I moved to America about three years ago. In Afghanistan, I worked for the US military for 6 years in a few different ways. I worked with them as a translator, in database and computers, and I made some books for them. When you work with the US Army or foreign people, it becomes hard to live [in Afghanistan] for security purposes. It becomes very dangerous. When the US Army moved after 2015, many people were jobless and the capital was a very dangerous area.
While all of this was going on, they gave approval to help [Afghan men and women who worked with the US Army] to apply for SIVs, Special Immigration Visa. The project manager, a man from America, showed me how to apply and was a very good guide. He showed me the way. He even gave me a recommendation letter because one necessary part of the application is to have recommendation from an American citizen. I came to America in April 2015 and earlier this year, I went back to get married and bring my wife here with me.”
“I met my husband in a family way. My family and his family have a friendship. They were visiting at a party and after talking, my family decided to go to their house to talk about engagement. We have kind of both arranged marriages and a choice in marriage. The first part is arranged. The father goes there and talks with that family and send a picture of their daughter. They can talk on Skype or email, and if the man and woman accept each other, then they get engaged. It’s not actually on the family to choose.”
“Over there, the boyfriend/girlfriend system is not there, unlike America where boys and girls can talk to each other. Even schools are separated. The only way you can talk to a girl you don’t know is to send your family to her house to talk about a potential relationship. You cannot talk directly with a girl on the street or at school or at a shop about these matters.
We didn’t actually meet until I went back to Afghanistan earlier this year. After our engagement, all of our family had a party and informed the rest of our family that we got engaged because we accepted each other. We communicated by Skype and email while I was here. It was difficult, you know? When I returned earlier this year, we got married and we stayed in Afghanistan for about 6 months. Then I come back here, with her, together.”
“When I came here, I didn’t like it at first. But now I’m getting better because the weather has changed, the food has changed. I was sick for the first two or three months because of my pregnancy, but now I am doing better than before. Also, I miss my family. I have never traveled outside of my country until now, and that’s why all this pressure has come at the same time.”
If you would like to support this couple or another family expecting a baby, you can go to worldrelieffortworth.org/give or contact email@example.com to donate gently used household or baby items.
*Names have been changed for the couple’s security.