Monday, January 26, 2009

Thank you all for such a great meeting yesterday, though we missed a few people. Today I went down to the Bhattaria's and delivered to them the things we rescued out of storage on Saturday....clothes, bedding........all washed and clean. There were some really nice things in the bags that they really needed! Plus I had been given lots of young men's clothing so passed that on for Krishna and Gopal. I also delivered some hygiene and housecleaning supplies and some new pillows I got for pennies on a clearance rack. I asked them to store them for their coming family members if they didn't need them immediately. I visited with Gopal and Mon for about 20 minutes. Their mother was present but didn't talk. Living next door to them is an Iraqi family, and coincidentally, a visitor of theirs was a man I met through my Iraqi friends on Indian School and 28th Street. We visited briefly. Gopal later told me that his impression of the Iraqi's is that they were/are rich and only came here to be safe, and that they have many complaints. He contrasted them against the Nepalis who have suffered for 18-20 years with nothing, little opportunities, little education. I took a risk of challenging him a little bit, while agreeing with him somewhat since my Iraqi friend Thaer has also said some of the Iraqi's are "spoiled", but said that all of us have a story, and many people suffer in many different ways. I told him how Thaer lost everything he ever owned and that his friends were assassinated in Iraq. I told him a bit about Billy and how he has suffered all of his life with physical disabilities and how his mother abandoned and neglected him. But I also said that all of us can be grateful to God for everything He has provided and really emphasized how it may be very hard to be grateful at times, we must all look to God for providing for us and helping us through the suffering. I don't know what the Lord had in mind for the conversation really, but it flowed naturally and was a good sharing time. On a different topic, Gopal said his mother has some serious health issues, apparently had had an intestinal obstruction at some point in the past, and has severe consequences of that. Since intestinal health is my second major (due to Billy's story) I offered to go with him to her doctor appointment to help them understand more of what can be done to help her. He said they are having a difficult time adjusting but he feels like his brother and sisters are doing okay. Mon looked sad and didn't take part though I think she understood some. Gopal started his job at the airport tonight at 9:30 pm. It will take him about an hour to get to/from work. Tika told me that Gopal and family would like to move more centrally because it is hard for them to go to the store or to work, since they are not on a bus line directly. They have asked LSS to place them together with their family members who are coming in 2 months. The two high schoolers go to Central High.

Later today I stopped by the A. family to have Tika sign the camp forms (he signed one side, not the other) again and to get the medical info required since Uma will need to take her medication with her. I also gave them the list of what to take/not take to the youth retreat. Apparently this is NOT a rustic camp setting, so I think they'll be fine with the layers of clothes they have, in addition to Carol's gloves and stuff. I found some sweatshirts for Durga, Krishna and Dhan. Tika and I agreed he needs to get that cash deposited ASAP so we will do that tomorrow. I hope this is okay with the team, but I did put on Tika the expectation that he would send $10 with each girl. Zack, the youth pastor, told me that they will stop for dinner on the way there and back and each kid needs money for that meal. They have the money and it's important that they have some ownership/investment in the trip. Tika agreed without hesitation. They also agreed to take the girls shopping for snacks for the trip. Tika asked me again if it's dangerous for them to go to camp in the mountains. I asked the girls if they've ever in their lives been separated from their mom for even one night.....they never have! So this is a big deal for all of them that they spend a weekend away!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hi all,
I heard the chicken dinner lunch yesterday was great, and everyone had a good time. What awesome gracious hospitality, Helen and Elvern, that you could accomodate such a large group on such short notice. I think Mr. Bhattaria thought he was going to stay with me in the van instead of getting dropped off....when he couldn't get his door open he resorted to climbing over the seat to the middle row so he could exit the sliding door!

I checked with Tika re: his employee handbook, and he had read it over. I covered a few key items like dress code, time cards, lunch breaks, etc. He seemed to understand. His plan is to leave the apartment at 4 pm and catch the bus eastbound on Dunlap, get off on 23rd and walk south. I told him that the handbook discourages loitering around the job site so encouraged him to wait across the street until 4:50 pm. He continues to be concerned with paying taxes. It just occurred to me that he may think he has to pay taxes himself, not realizing it comes right out.

Carol, both Tika and Kamala are very eager to start working with you....well, for Kamala to start working with you. They both want her to have the 1:1 time....Tika said "I am very happy for Kamala to learn with Carol".

Ganga said she has more families arriving this week and they can use the few pieces of furniture that are awaiting us in the storage facility. Does anyone have access to a truck and some strong backs? There are some Nepali men who are willing to help but we still need a truck.

We have a meeting this Sunday, 1/25/09 at 12:15 in room 203.

Tika took home the flyers re: Super Bowl party on Feb. 1 but I think we'll need to do some contacting with the other families as well.

Take care all!


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I want to share some experiences I've had with the Iraqi families on the east side of town. Theirs is a very different experience and adjustment than what we see with our wonderful Acharya family. There are 7 or 8 families, all but two are Muslim, and there is one household of two single ladies I have yet to meet. The main family I am in contact with uses the last name Rahman, though his given name is Hussein. The wife's last name is different also. They have a 12 year old son who just started 7th grade. Since every district in Arizona does things differently, I wasn't surprised but I am disappointed to learn that their son doesn't have much ESL time during the school day. Last weekend I helped him with his homework, two pages, all in english, totally meaningless to him about a topic that really doesn't matter at this point. I'm afraid the father might have put on his registration forms that their primary language at home is english, which would really mess up getting ESL help. I've been told that happens frequently because families want their households to become english-speaking but don't realize then they cut themselves out of ESL services. Something I'll look into later. This family and the others are very hospitable and gracious toward me and Billy, and always offering food and/or drink. I just read in WORLD magazine about how critical it is to slow down and "take tea" as this is a significant relationship building time, and especially if there is ever to be any evangelism which could take years for the Muslim families. The families do not network like a few of our Nepali families do. The Acharya house is grand central station most days, but these families really keep to themselves more. I've been reminded that there is a big difference between coming out of a war zone and coming out of a refugee camp like Nepal.

Interestingly, there are two "Christian" households, and I still have not figured out what sect of Christianity one is. The other is a household of a mom and her 10 year old rascally son (he proudly told me all of his spanish words.....all cuss words....on our very first meeting!). She is a devout Christian she said and said she prays to Jesus every day, all day. She attends a Catholic church nearby. She is completely ostracized by the Iraqis there, ALL of them, even my friends the Rahmans. None of them will speak to her or have anything to do with her, including the other Christian family. I am trying to figure out the complex Arab/Muslim/tribal relationships, and now wondering if it goes back to the old "Scarlet Letter"! Since she is here with her son, and her husband/his father is alive and well, maybe they have made her an outcast because she separated from her husband? She is very distraught over the dynamics but she seems like a strong woman and she has other friends from her church and a "mentor" from LSS to help. She speaks english very well. Unfortunately, she is also very sick with some kind of liver disease. She nearly lost her son to wonderful Az CPS before CPS was convinced she wasn't a derelict mother but actually just had arrived in America and was truly ill. So her first few months here have been extremely distressing for her. She can't work due to health issues and doesn't know who will pay her rent month to month.

Some of the other families are receiving financial support from relatives who are already established within the US, most in Michigan. Some of these people had houses, cars, computers, lots of for some it has been difficult to move here and have nothing. They do remind themselves of the fact that they are safer here. My friends have described in much more detail than I wanted to hear about the assassinations, bombings, fighting that they witnessed or saw after the fact. This Christian lady lost her first husband and all her brothers in the Iran/Iraq war, and Mr. Rahman served a long time in the same war. He and his wife both have Bachelors degrees in Economics and Accounting but are losing sleep every night over whether or not they'll be allowed to stay in the US without good jobs. These families don't have any church sponsors; I think the case managers are probably doing their best, but this family of three arrived to an empty apartment with just two beds. Now through TBC families (and the craigslist FREE postings!) they have at least enough beds, a few pieces of furniture and something to sit on! They received the food card in December, but received only enough for two weeks. It was supposed to be recharged on 1/5, still hasn't so this family had run out of food. Last week George Mann gave me a Fry's card for them to get through the week. By the weekend all they had to eat was bread and oranges. Yesterday I took them some canned food and meat and cash for milk and veggies, after trying to take them shopping on Saturday but the father wouldn't go. His pride got in the way of his stomach. Even as of today their food card is not recharged. My mother's church has provided a food box that I"ll be delivering tomorrow. They have been promised food boxes since last week but no one has delivered. Both parents have lost weight since arriving. She rarely leaves the apartment, and immediately puts on her head covering if a man visits. They have so many appointments, just like our family has had, but they don't have a team around them to help them get around, and often he doesn't have bus tickets, and no one else to take them. You can imagine the stress. He has a great background in warehousing, supply lines, computer inventory, etc. so we were able to assemble a good resume and I told him about Costco, Sams Club and some other similar businesses. I've told him the "squeaky wheel gets the grease" at LSS, so I hope he calls the job developer every single day. On my visits to LSS there are so many immigrants just millling around. I assume they are waiting on something, maybe a training, a ride or something. I am very curious what their job placement rate is. I am hoping it's astounding. If anyone has any church contacts on the east side, perhaps we could recruit a team for LSS for this Iraqi community? If you know of anyone, let me know. They are at 28th Street and Indian School.
Tika and I worked on a "template" application, one that he will keep to refer to for other applications. He has an orange expandable file folder with this in it, if you take him to any jobs. He filled out a real app. for janitorial work with the company that contracts at Metrocenter. He dropped it off at the mall office today. The company does a once/week pickup of their mail, so it may be a while before he hears from them. I asked him to work on the same application for Kamala tonight. I rehearsed with him what to say when he is called for an interview, and explained that he can't be picky about times, shifts, etc. He understood. Telephone skills would be another skill set to add to the long list, just so at least he can receive an employer's phone call and be able to make an appointment. He is planning on going to DES tomorrow morning for bus passes. He called his LSS job developer and left a message, and said he will call him every day. Ganga has written scripts for him to use on phone calls, which is very wise. Kamala and I cleaned out their fridge a bit and I showed her how to use the cleaning spray on the bottom shelf which was pretty dirty. I spied in on the bathroom; it seemed okay. She showed resourcefulness in using an empty shower soap bottle for her dishsoap so the large jug doesn't have to be on the counter. Tika said they finally got the phone card to work and Kamala was able to talk to family for an hour.....she cried and cried, he said. But they were both happy to finally get through!
From: ganga neupane

Dear Kathy,
I have asked Tika to go to the school and inform Purnaʼs and Umaʼs teacher,
girls have their appointment for 1.15.09 at 2pm.
May be we can also call their teacher (Im sure girls have the phone no for

Job developer for Tika and Kamala is Abraham Reech, he can be contacted at
602-248-4400 ext 205
Today we went to job office to pick up monthly bus passes for Tika and Kamla ,
but no better luck they have to go again tomorrow or the following day, by that
time bus passes will be ready. Each month until they are with the job program
they will get monthly bus passes (Tika and Kamala). We then went to MVD but
office is closed Sunday and Monday
Good thing is they were able to ride valley metro bus.

The Acharya Family is now on ACCCHS (Mercy Care Health Insurance). I will be working with Tika and Ganga to find a PCP and new dentist close to the apartment.

Ganga writes that the cash assistance they receive will go on their EBT card (Food Card) not into their account with LSS. The financial workout is as follows:
Rent $772.00
LSS pays 513.00
Tika pays 259.00 from EBT card (cash)
The apartment complex may not accept cash so he may need to get a money order or open up a bank account in order to write a check.

This is probably something we should discuss at the meeting on Thursday.

Thanks, Kathy
Carla wrote:

Primary Care Physician has already been assigned and is on 43rd Ave, south of Northern. AHCCCS assigned them to Dr. Kevin Cleary. Tika and Kamala both have appointments on 1/22/09 at 2:40 pm. The girls don't have to have "new patient appointments" but can wait until there is a specific need. Tika has some personal health issues he is anxious to get help with so this is good there is no more of a delay.

Kamala and Uma are now on long term treatment through Maricopa Health Center. They each received two prescriptions. We discussed the meds, the side effects to be aware of and when the best time to take would be (per dr. order's). Will provide one of our extra pill splitters tomorrow as Uma's supposed to take half of a small pill. It was tough to split. They received the pills two days ago but had not started taking any because they weren't sure of the directions.

Tara received another shot today. Next one due Feb. 13. Tika is taking shot record to the school tomorrow to keep them updated, as they requested. Tara starts an after school program tomorrow so she'll be busy most days until 4 pm then she rides home with the other kids who are also in the program.

Tomorrow I am taking Tika to turn in apps for possible jobs. Already picked up applications.
Keep in mind that the Indian School/51st Ave. DMV is closed on Mondays, as Tika found out today.


Monday, January 12, 2009

There are several items of news:
1. Not sure if all of you are aware that Frankie Brown broke her wrist over the weekend. It is in a cast. I spoke with Emery on Sun. and she was resting comfortably.
2. Carol will be picking up Tika and Uma and Purna for their eye Dr. appt. on Thursday at 2:00 pm.
3. Tika gave me the phone number for the Bhattrai family on Sunday and asked that I contact them. When I called Bhophal, the elder son, this morning he said that his mother and father are feeling somewhat isolated and wondered if we could bring them to church. I said of course and asked if the rest of the family would like to come and he said yes. There is a need for transportation for 6 on Sunday. If we need to split this between 2 cars I'm willing to do that. They live on 23rd Ave. and Glenrosa. I told him I would call him back on Friday to let him know what arrangements have been made. Please let me know if you want to volunteer for this.
4. I will take Tika to MVD when I go and we can take care of business together. It will most likely be one day next week. I will follow up on the exact day later.
Thanks, Kathy

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Ann Wrote:

This morning I took Tika and Kamala to Penney's to exchange the pants and shirt she got for Christmas. It went well, she was able to get the same thing in a smaller, and petite size. It looked like the pant legs were still a little long but the next size was too small. I asked if she would be able to hem them and she said "yes" but I'm not sure she understood. I don't know if they had ever been in a department store before. Tika said that it was a "Big" store!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Helen wrote:

Our goal is to teach this family how to fish so that they will be fully functional in their new country There are activities that many of us are doing each week that are essential for their orientation to life in Phx.
Recent activities that that are essential to their success include:
-providing them transportation to learn how to return/exchange an item with a receipt
-school lunch routine
-interpreting the dress code at Cortez
-providing assistance in customer complaint with telephone provider
-encouraging Tika to buy a bike lock at Frys
-job coaching and related activities since these are not being provided to our expectation by LSS
-celebrating the new year with family fun without alcohol
-identifying and using tools
-learning the names of the city streets

Additional/continued help is needed in these areas
-Kamala's English
-one-on-one time with Kamala
-job search for Tika perhaps a record keeping system with business cards from contacts
-budgeting and money management
-letter writing. I am not sure if they have written a letter using the stamps we bought them
-file management--Tika has important papers in several different places need little file cabinet

I guess I could make this a huge list. In summary, I believe our work with this family is a work in progress and we would be remiss if we thought we had accomplished our mission of teaching them to fish,
P.S. Kathy, missed you in Sunday school class this weekend.

Carla wrote:


Re: records management...I provided file folders and purple file box when they arrived. I think the file box has been used for laundry. I have shown them how to use the file folders, wrote the topic on the top of the folder. This apparently needs to be revisited. Perhaps the drawer under the TV would suffice as "data central"?

okay with everyone if I address this with them this weekend and set up more organization? Helen, if you get a business card holder we should ask him to keep it in the same drawer, right? I'll also give him a binder to keep job info in....if at all possible, he should copy (xerox) every application before he submits them. This will help tremendously to avoid recalling the same info for each application and in case he needs to follow up with a company he'll have the app. handy. We could easily access TBC office.....I am sure the office staff would copy for him. He could easily get there on his own as long as we lay the groundwork with the office staff.

Carol has graciously offered to get more shirts for Tara for school. I hit a sale at Kmart this morning and found some blouses for the girls. Now they actually will have enough for five days of acceptable clothing. Such a bummer the rules are so tight, but I can understand the school's need to draw a line.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Carla wrote:

Hi all!!
Helen and Elvern....I heard so many great stories of the parade! Tika thought the Sun City Twirlers were especially funny. What a treat you gave them in taking them to such a big event!

Monday the girls were up at 5:30 am, Tika said. A bit anxious! Tara was placed in the same class as the boy Tunka, who lives upstairs. Her teacher is Mrs. Murphy, and she has a room full! At least 5 languages represented. Pray for her! Mrs. Murphy was very thrilled to know that there is a support team around Tara and her family. Backpacks are not allowed at Cactus Wren, but there was a binder in the closet at home so she is set for school supplies. I reminded him that she needs a bike lock and told him that Fry's sells them. He wanted me to take his cash and go buy one but I said no, he needed to do it.

Then we hit Cortez High School, and met some confusion, but worked it all out. The girls have 4 classes together, and lunch. We walked through their schedule so they could find their classes easily. Cortez has 1300 students. My high school had 700. I felt anxious more than they did probably!! Their classes are very close together so it should be easy today. Lunch presented a brief problem as they had not been given the free lunch application on their visit in December, so they would have had to pay $3 each for lunch...that would have been $30 a week, until their application was processed. I pushed for a quick answer so the cafeteria manager said they could have free lunch this week and she would push their application through faster. They only have one textbook, Algebra I. They had to buy gym clothes so I'll submit the receipt for reimbursement. Cortez has very strict dress codes, including NO clothes with any writing on it. So upon our return to their apartment we went through their closet and had to eliminate about half of their few clothes, including that cute Roxy t-shirt that Uma got for Christmas.

Tika went with Billy and me to meet the Iraqi family and to deliver some clothes for one of the families. We also went by the LSS office to meet Ganga who had the paperwork for DES financial assistance for Tika to sign. He is to go over to Ganga's today, on his own, to get the application for the janitorial service company that has hired several Nepali's. Ganga said those applicants who go down there with an LSS worker generally do not get hired but those who go down wtih an American friend and who don't mention LSS generally get hired. To my knowledge, Tika has had no contact with any jobs placement staff from LSS. Neither have the Iraqi families. Thaer told me the jobs placement person told him to find a job on his own. Who really knows what is true, but it's obvious Tika has not had any assistance from the job developer. Tika and Thaer were commiserating about how little help they are getting. Tika was supposed to help Billy and me move some donated furniture but we ran out of time. Billy and I checked out the stuff....there is a dining table and chairs, though I don't know how large because we didn't get to see it. We did see a hutch and a very large entertainment center that will take a truck to move. But it's all free! So if you know who could use it, let me know.

Ann, thanks for taking Kamala to exchange the pants.

I continue to be impressed with how well supported and encouraged this family is and how much they appreciate our friendship.

Have a good week.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Tomorrow morning I am accompanying Tara and Tika to Cactus Wren Elementary. Tara has three days' worth of school uniforms. If anyone frequents Savers or Goodwill and wouldn't mind spending a few bucks, please check for navy blue, light blue or forest green collared "polo" shirts. She has three but one just barely fits her.

After getting her situated we'll return to take Uma and Purna to Cortez to register for their classes, which start on Tuesday.

Tika and Kamala can both apply for the janitorial jobs mentioned by Helen....Mike, I'm wondering if you worked up a resume for Tika? I don't recall.....I know you mentioned something about wording his work experience at the camp. It'd be helpful to have that info for whomever takes them to apply. I can do it on Tuesday if no one else can. Also, he should go back to Goodwill and apply for that janitor job.

They are REALLY getting into those ESL DVDs we got at Burton Barr Library! Uma was watching them again today when I stopped by to drop off Tara's uniforms. Cactus Wren Elem. may also have ESL classes. Glendale Community College (all MCC colleges, I think) have more structured ESL classes that get into writing, grammar, professional english, etc. Tika and his friend Chate are interested in taking a class there. Chate was a high school teacher in Nepal. It'd be an easy bus ride. Any concerns/objections? I realize it may conflict with a future job, but it's something to think about.

Have a great Sunday......


Saturday, January 03, 2009

January 2 and 3

We picked up Tika and Kamala and proceded to pick up Ghanga to go to 15th St and Thomas to DES Office for cash assistance. When we arrived we were told that the case manager assigned to them was taking appointments for next week. Ghanga politely said that the directions in the letter did not say that. The receptionist seemed to blow it off. I was offended and said that as a taxpayer I expected that the refugee families needed to be treated with respect. Ghanga thanked me as we returned to the car and re-read the letter. Elvern will take them to the appointment on January 8th at 10:00 a.m.

Next we went to optometrist to see if their glasses were ready and they were closed on Friday. Then we went to the dentist and he also was closed on Friday! After I returned home I reflected on the three strikeouts and determined that they need to begin to keep business cards from each of their professional appointments and use their telephone to make and confirm appointments. I will look for a business card folder next week.

Ghanga hopes to provide us with additional information about GSI (?) Janitorial Service. She has heard that they are hiring. She also said that Nepali people tend to get hired when they show up with American friend rather that LSS case manager. Details to follow on this job prospect.

We picked up the Acharya family at 8:30. They were not quite ready. We learned that Uma is still taking a prescription given to her on December 21. ???? It seems like Purna is the pokey one!

The neighborhood children are frequently in their apartment, Wednesday night Elvern learned that Tonga loves basketball so we gave Tonga a Phx Suns basketball to play in the park. He may have well been the happiest boy in the complex!

We arrived at the parade route at 9:00 a.m which was two hours before the parade began. They loved hot air balloons --this may been the first time they saw them up close. Elvern and Tika walked to the staging area for an hour, so I got out the dominoes. They new how to play since Frankie and Emory had taught them. The girls are very good but it has difficult for Kamala. She really needs one on one time without the help of her children covering for her. Next we played Jacks, learned to play with the YoYo, and strategized very well with Connect Four game. I don't believe they had ever seen a parade in Nepal. The girls loved the flag twirlers in each of the marching bands. Tika and kamala siad the best part of the parade was the horses. We were exhausted after we got to their house around 3:00 p.m.

Tika is still having trouble with the $30.00 phone card. The line is always busy to Nepal. He was able to call Nepal when he used the 2:00 phone card which was good for 15 minutes. We don't know how to help. Will someone please take on this challenge? It is extremely frustrating for Tika. He wants to call his parents.