Amarillo A small family from burma

My family and I exit through a small hallway lining a giant window and there stands a tall woman and my uncle’s family. My dad runs and hugs his brother. His wife embraces my mother and I. The woman introduces herself and says “Welcome to Amarillo”. She will be our case manager here in the U.S. We head down a set of stairs and grab our bags. We load into my uncle’s car and are told we are going to our new home. We have safely arrived in Amarillo.

The caseworker explains this is our new home. She hands my father a key and he unlocks the door. We walk inside and it is wonderful! There is food in the cabinets and fridge and I even have my own room. The case manager asks us to sit down at the table in our kitchen. She hands us money and explains that it is for extra food and other necessities. Then, we are shown how to work the stove and what a fire detector is. We are told there is a hot meal ready at my uncle’s house, so we are to head there now. The case manager will be back in the morning to get us.

The next morning our case manager arrives and asks us how we are doing. She goes over the house a little more explaining how to use the shower and things like that. She asks about our food and beds. We tell we love everything and thank her. She leaves and lets us know that she will be coming in a few days to take us to get our social security cards.

A few days later, the case manager shows up with our interpreter. We load into a big white van with all of our documents and head to the social security office. After standing in line for a while, our information is processed and we are told the cards will be mailed soon. We load back into the van and head to the office where we are to complete our intakes. During the intake we apply for medicaid and SNAP. We provide our refugee documents and the case manager makes copies. She discusses finances and the rules of the program with us. She talks about the culture here and the basic laws we have to follow. Next, we do our employment intake. We talk about our employment history and more copies are made. The ESL coordinator stops in after and sets up a time for all of us to take an English proficiency test so we can start classes.

Later on that week we come back to the office and take our tests. My parents have minimal knowledge so they are placed in level 1 classes. I test into level 2. We will start coming to the office twice a week for classes starting next Tuesday. My parents are nervous but I am excited to learn even more English.

A few weeks later, we undergo a health screening referral and appointment. My mother has been attending Mom’s Empowerment classes through RST and is learning how to cook and clean in her American apartment. Our Resettlement Case Manager just stopped by yesterday for a second home visit to make sure we were doing okay and our living conditions were good. She stayed for a little bit talking to my parents about how we are adjusting. My parents tell her things are going well and that we are happy here.

We have now reached our 90 day point, which means our case manager is closing our case. My father has found a job at Tyson with the help of his Employment Case Manager and begins next week. I am preparing to take the GED test at Amarillo College and have found a part-time job at Walmart. My mother is continuing to participate in Mom’s Empowerment and has made a lot of friends that way. We are thankful for all of the opportunities we have been granted In Amarillo.

Credits:

Created with images by thart2009 - "office visit" • kevin dooley - "Google Street View - Pan-American Trek - Porter County Court Building"

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