Thursday, January 7, 2010

Message from Phoenix city of USA

Nandita Khanal, currently residing in Phoenix city of Arizona state of United States wrote message to all the Bhutanese friends across the globe in January7, 2010 at 1:08 PM. In her message, she describes about her new life and also her experiences along with the community activities ought there in the city. Check this out:-    

Dear Bhutanese Friends,
I am Nandita Khanal from Phoenix, Arizona, USA. First of all, let me thank to one who brought this awesome thought of creating this network to bring all our Bhutanese friends together from different parts of the globe and thank to one of our senior brothers who spilled his idea of the essentiality of this network in face book which reminded me to come back and check the blog. Here’s my story and 1.9 years’ experience in the United States.

As you all, I am a Bhutanese born in Danabari which is in Sarbhang district in southern Bhutan. In July, 1992, I became a titled Bhutanese Refugee. After spending successive 16 years in Eastern Nepal under Jhapa district at Beldangi 3, sector A1, hut 61/62, I stepped into United States in the hope of having a peaceful and independent life and to erase Refugee title forever.
On the 8th day of May 2008, I was dropped into the soil of United States of America, in Phoenix, AZ along with my little sister and brother leaving behind my dear parents, elder brother, sister-in-law, 2 lovely little cousins and my other sisters and their family, all my relatives and friends with or without the hope of joining with them in rest of my life. Both happiness and sadness were weighing my mind at the same time. HAPPY: because I hoped I would be able to help my lingering family in Dharan after being displaced from Camp and SAD because I was missing and worried about my family who were at risk. We could finally join them in about 2 months which made us very joyful.
Today, there are about 1200 Bhutanese Refugees resettled in the State in two different cities, Phoenix and Tucson. We live close to each other and have close connections and good relationship. We celebrate our festivals and New Year together in some public place and have lot of fun. We have formed a community named “Bhutanese Community in Arizona” which is headed by Mr. Manorath Khanal as a president of the community. The community has provided English Language class open to all where our Bhutanese literates/educated voluntarily teach them. Classes run one on one basis, a computer, a teacher and a student which helps student focus more and head forward as per their learning level. The service giver is the Abounding Service. The intention of the community to give these classes is to make them literate and able to find a job. It is also on the way to do many more in future.
The job, any international starts here in their arrival is mostly a general and entry level, despite their education and experience in their homeland or host land but as we see many other refugees have occupied distinct places, we hope we can get there sometimes in life if we take our education further and/or get certifications. The slow economy of the country has made people a little frustrated but they are given at least food and medical benefits and sometimes govt. housing as needed. It’s not only our people victimized without a job but the poor economy of the country has created problem with many nationals by laying-off from the job or not lending one. In this threatening economic situation of the country also, satisfactory number of people from our community is working. I hope no one goes in against of me if I still say the life here is better than in Refugee Camps. People who had never seen computer is unable to exist for a moment without it. There is no house without telephone and a television provided they are interested in watching English channels. About half of our resettled family has a car and more than 70% have computer with internet. Over 65 age and people with major illness get social security income from the government and if they are eligible for a care-giver, one of the family members get paid as a care-giver.
With any kind of full time job, it’s not difficult living here and if they share house with at least 5 active members, they can sustain with a part time job also. The largest expense goes in the house rent. After 4-6 months of our arrival, we have to pay back our loans (the air fair) as monthly installments at least $30 per head but there are people who have not started their payment even for a year and more. School going children are provided free food and medical. The education up to high school (10+2) is free. Grant is provided for the two years degree in the community colleges. After that, we get loans in low interests or without interest and some portion of grant for furthering our education. Any legal immigrant under 24 years of age can stay and study in community college for free of cost, here in Phoenix. The immigration agencies have been giving free trainings like CNA, interpreter, customer service, computer etc. for our people to increase the chance of getting a job and fit into the society. There are free public libraries where we can get different books, movie CD, DVD, use internet for personal use and look for job and many more. Goodwill Career centers provide free computers to search and apply for job and also give basic computer classes on Ms. Office, email, internet, online shopping etc. Eligible people can get loans to buy house or start their business if they want.
As I have learnt from my American friends, Arizona is known as the land of opportunities and a great place to live. It is comparatively cheaper to live. I have already spent two summers and enjoying my first winter now. To be honest Arizona is known as desert but yet it is good place to be. It is comparatively hotter in summer and winter is admirable. There are many touristic places in Arizona. Grand Canyon, known as one of the 7 wonders of the world lies here. The other state attractions are the Petrified Forest, the Painted Desert, Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, Fort Apache, and the reconstructed London Bridge at Lake Havasu City, Tempe Beach Park and Lake pleasant. It is a developing state and systematically designed such that it makes any new people get their destination easily. Transportation is good in the city.
Phoenix is the top 5th city in the United States, where the estimated population was 1,552,259 in 2007. Here, in Phoenix is an international airport named PHX Sky Harbor Airport which has employed many Bhutanese in different companies.
I started my study in a college in four months of my arrival. I gave continuation to my computer science study at a Technical Institute. I will be graduating Associate Degree this August. Hopefully, with a better job at hand I can shift to University for my bachelor Degree and more. In my opinion education is the most for everyone. I have no regret for being here. I can’t imagine how life would be if I had no opportunity to take my education further. I am getting the most out of my life here. I hope me and my family’s life will be better in near future. Now, almost all of my brothers and sisters have started their study and many other Bhutanese are attending college while some others are making their mind.
I am hanging out with 2 contract jobs with my full time college. They pay me well for my living. My family also has no lamentation for being here. We like this place. My citizenship status is green card. I am happy with my life because I got possibility to fulfill my dream of continuing my education. I love to be independent and like others being independent. Hard work is another name for me. Pleasure and leisure is on the side and in our hand I believe. In my view, life is what we make, not granted and nothing is impossible for a willing heart. If we want to make a better future, pray is on our part but hard work is essential. Finally, I want to say I have not forgotten my motherland Bhutan despite the treatment of the Govt. and all my Bhutanese folks. Repatriation was not possible but I hope I can at least visit my homeland once in my life. I want to make as many loyal friends and be happy in between them. I like to help anyone around me with all my might. No is not synonymous to me. I am more direct in expressing and never want to deceive anyone. I think decision should be taken after thorough consideration and once we make decision, we shouldn’t have any hesitation in action. For me, goal, commitment, hardwork, respect and culture are things to be kept always and in any situation.
At last, Wish you all remaining 356 days of the New Year 2010 and request you all to be around to help each other in real times, stay connected and be one soul as there is a “saying united we stand divided we fall”. Let’s not forget our culture with the advancement. We’ll be there only if we possess our actuality.
“Help ever and hurt never”.
Nandita Khanal
Phoenix city, Arizona, USA


Anonymous said...

Great job Nandita baini. I hope we will continue with a stronger connection in future. It was good blog to read where you had jotted your state of present life and your expectations. Thank you for creating such a network. It was always my dream.

Rabi Ghimeray

Anonymous said...

Thanks Nandita,
You have shared your thoughts through this blog.We were in same camp and sector before.
Hope you will be in connections.
Dadi Ram Antim

Anonymous said...

Nan... I knw .. U R always superb n my best friend..
Good job... keep it up!!

Anonymous said...

Not bad at all.Good to see our girls progress in life.All the best.

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