Memories and lessons learned

The project…

So I’m finally getting around to my first blog post about this project. I’m excited to get underway…

When I first moved to Tucson, as soon as everyone found out I was Afghan, they immediately asked me if I’d eaten at the Afghan restaurant yet. By the end of my first week here, I’d had half a dozen invitations from people to eat there with them.

The restaurant was still located at their old location on Drachman back then. A group of about 15 of us ended up going there together and ate some absolutely delicious food! But that was the last weekend they were open at that location. The owners were planning on moving the restaurant to a location just off of University Blvd in the alley between Chipotle and Which Wich.

I lived in the graduate housing then, so I had to walk by this location everyday to get to class in the Marshall Bldg. Everyday I peeked in with the hopes that they had finally finished construction. I waited about a year…

The location has been open now for about 2 years and I’ve had lunches with old friends, first dates, birthday and iftar dinners, picked up food for a party they were catering, and arranged fundraisers there.

In all this time, I’ve come to know the family that owns that restaurant pretty well. They’re a nice family that immigrated from Afghanistan. I don’t know how long ago, or under what circumstances. That’s what I hope this project will be about. Not so much the restaurant, but the story of the people that own it.

Every immigrant has a story, simultaneously unique and universal. And in this time when Arizona and America are putting immigrants and refugees under close scrutiny, it’s important to take a look at those immigrants that are living here, raising their families, going to work, contributing to society.

This project is one of several that will be coming out of a multimedia class at the School of Journalism at the University of Arizona. Many of us are looking at various immigrant communities in Tucson and I’m hoping that these projects can weave together and put the human element back into the debate on immigration rights, as it is an issue close to my heart.

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