Local refugee tells her story - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local refugee tells her story

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RICHLAND, WA - "I couldn't do anything and it was just blood anywhere and I had to save myself, my sister and my niece.”

A refugee from Iraq herself, Amira Al Salami now works for World Relief here in the Tri-Cities, where she helps refugees once they arrive in America. 

It's an experience she says only an unfortunate few can fully understand. 

"Nobody can understand it until they become refugees, which is something I personally do not wish it for any person,” she said. 

She lived in Jordan for a year and a half before being allowed to come to America. But for some, the wait takes even longer and includes living in refugee camps where food rations sometimes only last the first 10 or so days of the month.  

"Parents tell kids stories, when they get hungry to sleep. And then the worst is the last ten, it's the ten of silence. Nobody has energy to talk." 

Before the war, she worked as an English professor at the University of Baghdad. She says one of the biggest challenges when she got to the Tri-Cities was realizing how limited her career options were. 

"The best job was to be like a kindergarten assistant. For me, it was shocking. " 

 So does she ever regret her choice to come to America? 

"No. I know that god always has the best choice for me, and I am blessed to be here. "