[Vision2020] Family from Afghanistan visits Christmas Bureau

Moscow Cares moscowcares at moscow.com
Mon Dec 21 11:40:40 PST 2015

Courtesy of today's (December 21, 2015) Spokesman-Review.

Family from Afghanistan visits Christmas Bureau
One Spokane family originally from Afghanistan will spend time this Christmas with their new American friends on the South Hill.

Ghulam Ghaznawi, 30, also is excited that he, his wife, Fatema, and three children are now settled into their own home here. On Dec. 12, they visited the Christmas Bureau for the first time to find gifts for their three children, ages 3, 1 and a baby born at Sacred Heart in November.

The family first moved to Spokane in July 2014, coming to the U.S. for safety following death threats to Ghaznawi in Afghanistan, where he worked as a translator from 2008 to 2014 for the U.S. military, he said. 

“I received a lot of threats back in Afghanistan, and one of my brothers got killed,” Ghaznawi said. “I got shot because of the insurgents.”

After a photo of him appeared in a military publication, he said, the threats against him escalated. At the end of 2013, masked people in a car pulled up near him and his brother and ambushed them. That’s when his brother got shot and killed, and their attackers thought he too was dead, he said.

After recuperating from his injuries in India and Pakistan, Ghaznawi and his family came to the U.S. under a special immigration visa program. The family also received help from World Relief Spokane, which is how they met the Spokane family they’ll spend time with over the holidays. Ghaznawi also found work as a cook at the Davenport Hotel, and they feel welcome here, he said.

“I love the U.S., the culture, the laws, especially the society,” he said. “There’s no discrimination. I haven’t seen any here.

“I go to work and I come home alive. There’s no explosions here, and there’s the future of my children.”

At the bureau, Ghaznawi found himself again in the role of translator, this time helping about 10 people newly arrived from Afghanistan who don’t speak much English, he said. 

He met them through a mutual friend, and the group included one family with children ranging in age from 6 to 16 who had little in the home where they’re living now.

As for Ghaznawi, he and his family are planning for a long future here. He plans to go to college to study international relations and then seek work with the government. In Afghanistan, he had graduated from high school and finished two years of college.

His family doesn’t celebrate Christmas, but he said he will with his friends. “We have a tight relationship with them,” he said. “Because of my nice friends here, I’ll go and celebrate with them no matter what my religion. I’m part of the U.S. now, and a resident here.”

New donations
Anonymous Spokane donors gave $5,000. “We hope this brings light and grace to those who will need it the most.”

Kile Machine and Manufacturing Inc., of Rosalia, Washington, gave $2,000.

Donna Hares, of Spokane, gave $1,000. “This donation is given in memory of Donald W. Hares.”

Kevin P. West, of Spokane, gave $600. “In lieu of client gifts, I’d like to once again make a donation to The Spokesman Christmas Fund on their behalf. May those in our community have a brighter holiday season as a result. Thank you to the countless volunteers as well.”

Donald Tuttle, of Spokane, gave $500. 

James Sledge Jr., DDS, and Sarah Sledge, of Spokane, gave $500.

Anita Lamp, of Spokane, gave $500. She wrote, “Every year when we made our contribution to the Christmas Fund, my husband, Bob Lamp, insisted it remain anonymous. This year, however, with his recent passing, I would like it to be in his honor to recognize his longtime generosity.”

Georgene Patten, Barbara Cunningham, Herb Patten and Rich Patten, of Spokane, gave $500, “from the Patten family in memory of their dad, Les Patten, who when he looked at gifting in the spirit of Christmas, the Christmas Bureau always topped his list.”

An anonymous Spokane donor gave $500. 

Linda Ashlock and Susan Boyd, of Liberty Lake, gave $500. 

Tim and Jackie Randall, of Cheney, gave $500. 

Divcon Inc. and employees Eric Badgett, Jarred Bailey, Sean Drury, Kane Mindermann, Ronnie Schreier and Andrew Wedde, of Spokane Valley, gave $480. Each employee donates to a charity of choice with the company matching their donations. “As a Spokane general contractor, we appreciate your support of local families,” President Shane G. Miller wrote.

Robert and Marian Cummings, of Spokane, gave $400. 

An anonymous Spokane donor gave $400 and wrote, “May you continue your wonderful work of making a happy Christmas for so many.”

Sisters of Providence, of Spokane, gave $375. 

An anonymous Spokane donor gave $350 “in gratitude to God.”

An anonymous Spokane donor gave $300. “Such a blessing to be able to donate to this wonderful project!”

William and Nancy Henry, of Spokane, gave $300 “in memory of our parents: Bo and Mary Henry and Robert and Marian Heglar.”

Gini and Tom Burns, of Spokane, donated $300 “in memory of our dear friend Charles H. ‘Chuck’ Robey who loved all things Christmas.”

Judy and Bill Camden, of Spokane Valley, donated $250. “Because we feel so blessed for having come through windstorm 2015 with relatively little damage, we would like to extend that blessing to others in this small way.”

Virgil Duchow, of Spokane, gave $250.

Chimney Rock Mortgage, of Spokane, gave $250. 

M & L Construction Inc., of Spokane, gave $250. 

Diane Weber, James Kershner, and Anne Franke, all of Spokane, each gave $100.

Candace Murray, of Spokane Valley, gave $25.


To donate
By mail: Spokesman-Review Christmas Bureau, P.O. Box 516, Spokane, WA 99210.
Online: www.spokesman.com/christmasfund. Online donations can be made with a PayPal account or credit card.
In person: Deliver your donation to the guard in the lobby of the S-R offices in Spokane at 999 W. Riverside Ave. or in Coeur d’Alene at 608 Northwest Blvd.

Moscow Cares donated $200.00 because . . .

"Moscow Cares"
Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho
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