Newspaper Archive of
Mercer Island Reporter
Mercer Island, Washington
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April 22, 1998     Mercer Island Reporter
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April 22, 1998
 

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Wedrtcsday. April 22. Family celebrates anniversary of flight from Iraq v‘ vv-vv vv vvv‘ Refugee family has settled into life on Mercer Island, with help from Presbyterian congregation By Rebekah Denn Special to the Reporter hokhan Suseyi had 48 ltours to flee. Tltat wasn't much titne to say goodbye to her home attd homeland. just ertough to pack a tiny suitcase artd leave Iraq. “I was so scared." the 16—year—old said. describing how she boarded a tttilitary plarte with her family last year in the face of death threats. Fast—forward to Mercer lslartd "Thank you.“ each fatnily mem- her said in heartfelt turn yesterday. describing the progress they've tttade since arriving here. In varying degrees of fluency. the adults told of working two or three jobs a piece. taking English as a Second Language classes. and learning to support the 10 family members in two Mercer Island apartments. The family was finan- cially self-sufficient after 25 days. but their supporters vww—VW'V ‘Right vvvvwvvivvvrvw . gracious and just plain nice. The year was productive for the family. but not easy. They moved from well-to—do to just scraping by. from a spacious nine—bedroom house in northern Iraq to sharing their bed- rooms on Mercer Island. Three sisters taugltt school in their hometown of Suliemanyi. while one managed a store. Shokhan Sureyi said. [It the United States. they are working at grocery stores arid a senior citizens center. hoping to improve their English enough to teach again. Two married sisters were left behind in Iraq. and Fatima particularly miss- es them. But all said yesterday that they were happy and Mercer Island Reporter A3 Presbyterian Church. where Shokltan. continued with friendship now, I feel thankful for their lot. her mother. artd eight brothers and and advice from wartting At first. “I was so sad. I sisters yesterday celebrated the an- them away front a lemon SO gOOd' I left my friends. my house. niversary of their arrival in the United car to steering them toward feel SO everything was so differ— “rm States. another part—time job. ent." said Shokhan. who I The family fled because art older How could the fatnin I, h , packed her suitcase with Fatima SUSCYL fibOVCI brother had worked as a radio opera- ltave survived. asked Hama m ere' photos.‘ a few outfits. and a deartrtly arcl<ngwl€dgeS tor for a relief agency funded by the Suseyi. the oldest brother. _ Shokhan sureyi stack of diaries last year. Church United States. and Saddam Hussein had made death threats against the work- ers and their families. fatnin mem- bets said. They were atnong aniestimated 5.000 such evacuees. The clturclt sponsored the Muslim family's relocation to Mercer Island last year. following their evacuation from Iraq to Guam. They'd stayed in Guam for four months before the World Council of Churches found a sport— sor for such a large group. "without your support. with— out your help. without your great love for us." Matriarch Fatima Suseyi. in elaborate sequined Kurdish clothing and ahead scarf. threw her arms around church members as they walked through a receiving line yesterday. ‘ The younger childrcrt spoke of ski trips and “soccerball” games. trom- bone lessons and drivers licenses. Cortgregants. for their part. found the family “incredibly industrious." INDEPENDENT FEE ONLY - EXPERIENCED NVESTMENT PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT FINANCIAL & INVESTMENT PLANNING Rachel W. Paysse, CFP Brian E. Jennison Ogden Bldg. #206 Mercer Island, WA 98040 236-7343 A Registered Investment Advisor Since her arrival. she's . worked hard in her sopho- more classes at Mercer Island High School. She plays junior varsity tennis.. and works part—time at a clothing store. She wettt on a school trip to Washington. D.C.. and exchanged let- ters with President Clinton about her emigration. She plans a career in pol— itics. “Right now." she said, “I feel so good. I feel so happy I’m here." I LOW COST CREMATION I From We guarantee the lowest price in the area. 425-895-0421 or 1-800-575-8823 One call...Always low cost with dignity AMERICAN BURIAL » CREMATION SERVICES Start Surfing At Incredible Speeds Qt Home by 'I‘CINI‘II‘ is the l @ Home. Iigh Velocity Internet Service tltat delivers tltc web to your cabinets look like new by installing new doors and draw- er fronts and covering exposed cabinet surfaces at a fraction of the cost of replacing. Due to our low overhead and referral busi- ness, are at least 10.2% less on the average than our competitors. '5’- Introductory Offer liZReplace We currently have a "Spring Special" on refacing. 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