Nabil didn’t know what to expect when he first arrived in central Wisconsin. He and his wife Amina had just navigated through a flight transfer at Chicago O’Hare alone, with their two young daughters in tow. The family certainly didn’t expect to be greeted at the tiny Wisconsin airport by a group of volunteers as well as refugee resettlement staff. Until then, Nabil hadn’t planned to stay in Wisconsin, but the warm airport greeting changed his mind. “I decided, I will try to stay here with my family.” Now Nabil works at the local refugee resettlement office as Community Integration Programs Manager, and he has joined the staff in greeting other new arrivals at the airport. He and his family are adjusting to life.
Nabil and Amina are the same age as their co-sponsorship team lead, Michelle’s, children. “…when I see their girls, I don’t have grandchildren yet, so I look at them like they are my own.” Michelle is enjoying building a relationship that extends beyond the initial arrival and busy first few months. She and her husband see and celebrate the family’s motivation as they settle in to Wausau. “It really has been a lovely experience; we want to be a part of their lives.” After studying for and receiving a driving license, Nabil is now helping other refugees study for the test and creating a special program so women, including his wife Amina, can also learn to drive. He and his family are enjoying getting to know the area. Now that they have a car, they enjoy visiting friends in nearby cities. Amina and their two young daughters enjoy walking to local parks during the day, sometimes joining other recent arrivals. Nabil says “It’s a new life for me…new life, new opportunities, and new goals.”